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Keith E Rice's Integrated SocioPsychology Blog & Pages

Aligning, integrating and applying the behavioural sciences

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Coronavirus Crisis: can We go back to ‘Normal’?

All governments around the world are still continuing to approach the coronavirus crisis as though a return to ‘normality’ is not only desirable but possible. Boris Johnson used the term several times in yesterday afternoon’s Downing Street briefing. A number of recent reports have revealed how the pandemic is exacerbating existing massive social and economic inequalities, both nationally (eg: Philip Aldrick in The Times) – and globally  (eg: Oxfam). This lunchtime Sky News‘ Nick Martin showed how Covid-19 is increasing poverty in the already desperate town of Oldham. Of course, a return to the kind of normality described in the Oxfam report may desirable for some but abhorrent for others – ultra-Capitalist systems that create “a rigged economy…enabling a super-rich elite to amass wealth in the middle of the worst recession since the Great Depression, while billions of people are struggling amid the worst job crisis in over 90 years.” This is the kind of normality a great many in the Plutocracy – as defined by Guy Standing (2009; 2011) – and their Elite lackeys in the right-wing media and political parties are working towards developing further. (See: How the Plutocrats are waging War on the Bureaucrats…) Not only do a… Read More

SocioPsychological Factors in Crime #4

PART 4 Defining behaviour as crime Picking up from Sutherland’s 9th principle – also discussed earlier when exploring the work of Bonger and considered in Crime & Deviance – the Difference – who decides what is criminal and what is deviant is no simple matter. Nor are there absolute definitions as even Functionalists argue definitions can change over time and between cultures. In the Interactionist view laws are, to all intents and purposes, political products that reflect the power of some groups to impose on others their memes of right and wrong and normality. Thus, Anthony Giddens (1993, p128) writes: “The labels applied to create categories of deviance thus express the power structures of society.” This goes beyond the Marxist view that the social control is about Capitalists using the law to control the working classes.  Howard Becker’s (1963) application of Labelling Theory to crime and deviance posits that, rather than a fixed scenario of the Capitalists dictating values that reflect their interests in society and are enforced via the legal system, in fact politics is a competition between different groups to gain the power to impose their values on others. Routes to such power obviously include legislative institutions such as Parliament… Read More

Influences, Acknowledgements & Gratitude

Update: 25 October 2019 Along the way, certain people have been particularly influential in terms of career progression and/or personal development; so it’s appropriate to acknowledge as many as I can remember. So here goes… Close friends and relatives My parents Ted & Betty Rice, of course. My uncle George Chandler who, playing guitar in a nightclub jazz trio and building a yacht to sail around the world, epitomised ‘cool’ to an impressionable 10-year-old. Rita Smith, always the aunty I was closest to and her daughters Norma (now Norma Klunder) and Maureen (now Maureen Williams) who embodied the mysteries of ‘teenage girl’ to their younger, only child male cousin. Ex-wives Linda Rice and Jane Rice inevitably have left their marks on me – as have ex-fiancees Jennie Beasty and Val Horsfall. Liz Olson was an American and a fellow Jefferson Starship fan who flew across the Atlantic to challenge some of my precepts! My 2 oldest friends, Chris Scurrah and David Burnby have been hugely influential in very different ways – Chris for inspiring me and supporting me to become a musician and Dave for supporting me in applying the Gravesian approach to real life. My stepdaughter Viki Harris has sometimes forced me to think about things differently… Read More

Just what is Nigel Farage up to?

Well, one glance at the papers over the past few days and it’s pretty clear that Nigel Farage is back in a big way. He’s rather grandly attempting to shape the Brexit debate, reinvigorate –  if not relaunch – the Leave campaign and position himself as the Great Saviour of the referendum result of 23 June 2016. Not that Farage has ever exactly gone away; but his credibility as an influential politician has been in steady but sure decline for over a year. He may have been the first foreign politician to visit Donald Trump following his election; but, as reported by commentators such as The Independent’s Joe Watts (2016) any hope Farage had that Theresa May might use him as go-between with Trump were swiftly dashed by Downing Street. Then there was the disastrous endorsement of far-right Republican Ray Moore in the Autumn 2017 campaign for one of Alabama’s Senate seats. Not only did Moore lose the election in large part due to serious allegations of sexual assault but Farage foolishly defended Moore against the allegations – as reported by The Independent’s Andrew Buncombe (2017a). Perhaps the nadir of Farage’s post-referendum political life was last Monday 8th’s meeting with EU chief… Read More

Putin, Trump and the Endgame for Syria

A  couple of years back I stopped writing about Syria. It wasn’t a deliberate decision. It just seemed to happen. The routine nature of the horrific atrocities committed with relative abandon by both sides, with advantage seeming to swing first one way and then the other and then the other and then the other yet again seemed endless and wearisome. Everything that could be said seemed to have been said…and yet still it went on. Meanwhile, the Crimea, the Ukraine, the Scottish independence referendum, the Peshawar Massacre, Charlie Hebdo and other UnIsamic State atrocities, Jeremy Corbyn, the Brexit referendum, Jeremy Corbyn (again!), Donald Trump…. So many other things have happened in those 2-3 years and so many of them ‘closer to home’…and, as the apocryphal ‘McClurg’s Law’ postulates: the more something is closer to you (racially, nationalistically, culturally), the more newsworthy it is (Stephen Moore, Steve Chapman & Dave Aiken, 2009). Thus, it is understandable (in some senses, at least) that Syria went ‘off the radar’ at times not only for myself but for many other ‘thinkers’ and much of the Western media. Now, though, as what seems to be the final, heartbreaking agonies of Aleppo are so grim and apparently so decisive, they actually break through the news barrier and Syria becomes… Read More

The Biological Impetus to Attachment

 Updated: 31 March 2017 The largely complementary attachment theories of John Bowlby (1969) and Rudolph Schaffer (Rudolph Schaffer & Peggy Emerson, 1964; Schaffer, 1996) mostly focus on the conscious cognitive and affective aspects of the formation of an attachment bond between the child and its primary caregiver (usually the mother), being in broad agreement that this is usually in place by the time the child is 6-7 months old. However, Bowlby (1958) was convinced that there existed an innate drive to attachment between child and mother and that this was adaptive. For evidence from an Evolutionary perspective, Bowlby was initially dependent on animal studies of imprinting such as those of Konrad Lorenz (1935). Lorenz had shown that animals such as geese and ducks imprint on the first thing they see after breaking the egg and treat it as their ‘mother’. (Famously, Lorenz got greylag goslings to imprint on his wellington boots, after which they would follow him around when wearing them!) Lorenz proposed that imprintability is genetically switched on and then switched off, effectively anticipating the development of Epigenetics. From this, Stephen Lea (1984) proposed that instinct gives the gosling chicks the concept or template of the mother but the environment has to supply… Read More

What is Globalisation? #2

PART 2 New International Division of Labour The so-called ‘old international division of labour’ reflected the colonial and immediate post-colonial realities that the industrialised societies of the West produced manufactured goods while the rest of the world tended to produce one or 2 primary products per country. However, the Neo-Marxists Folker Fröbel, Jürgen Heinrichs & Otto Kreye (1980) state that, from the 1970s onwards, there have been substantial movements of industrial capital from the ‘advanced’ industrialised world to the developing world. This movement has been driven by rising labour costs and high levels of industrial conflict in the West which reduced the profitability of transnational corporations.  With globalisation, the tendency is for the Western industrial societies to export capital and expertise while poor countries provide cheap labour for manufacturing. According to Dawlabani, this destruction of homeland jobs in the West is justified by economists and financial  leaders via Joseph Schumpeter’s (1942) theory of Creative Destruction. In this paradigm, in a free market entrepreneurs will always introduce innovation which is disruptive to the current economic model but which improves productivity and, thus, economic growth. The cost to those impacted by the ‘destruction’ is not important. Thus, manufacturing is outsourced to low wage countries in… Read More

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