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Party System Institutionalization in Post-Soviet Georgia

posted Nov 25, 2019, 7:43 AM by Sara D. Topciu   [ updated Nov 25, 2019, 7:46 AM ]

Giorgi Melikidze1
Journal of Social Research & PolicyVolume: 9, Issue: 2
Online First
Date: December 2018
ISSN: 2067-2640 (print), 2068-9861 (electronic)

Abstract: Political parties are the unit of analysis for several studies, but this is different from studying party systems. Stable party system is the basis of a consolidated democracy. Despite the fact that many researchers are interested in studying of system stability and institutionalism, the empirical studies about the mentioned issue are rather scarce. Electoral volatility is used as one of the measurements of the party system. Pedersen Index is the famous instrument in researches of electoral volatility. The length of democratic transaction and party system fragmentation determines the electoral volatility. In accordance with the electoral volatility, the post-Soviet and former socialist countries are significantly ahead of the other regions. A little experience of multiparty political system and weak party identification is named as the cause of the mentioned. The effective number of parties (ENP) is the indicator, which allows us to define the institutionalization of party system. By using the effective number of parties, which is determined through the obtained votes of the parties, we can determine their political weight. The present paper aims to examine Georgia’s perspectives within the context of party system institutionalization. In accordance with the research hypothesis, the weakness of program / ideological connection between parties and electorate creates a basis for a weak party institutionalization. In post-Soviet Georgia, the weak institutionalization of the party system played an important role in the point of view of political transformation. This paper explores the most common methods of data collection used in qualitative research: namely: a) Expert interviews with political researchers b) In-depth interviews with representatives of political parties; b) In-depth interviews with selected electorate. 

Keywords: Party System Institutionalization; Electoral Volatility; Program / Ideological Connection; Georgia.
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Politics, Economics, and the Far Right in Europe: Social Psychological Perspectives

posted Nov 17, 2019, 12:06 PM by Sara D. Topciu   [ updated Nov 17, 2019, 12:08 PM ]

Vassilis Pavlopoulos1
Journal of Social Research & PolicyVolume: 9, Issue: 2
Online First
Date: December 2018
ISSN: 2067-2640 (print), 2068-9861 (electronic)

Abstract: This paper adopts a social psychological perspective to review individual and socio-political factors accounting for the resurgence of the far right in Europe, in light of the economic crisis. The paper addresses three main questions in relation to this review. First, what psychological processes translate unfavorable contextual attributes into perceptions of uncertainty, threat and ruthless competition that may trigger ideological attitudes, behaviors, and policies relevant to the far right? Second, what strategies do far-right leaders implement in order to counter accusations of fascism and racism? And third, what is the role of the mainstream political system and the media with regard to the legitimization of right-wing extremism and populism? The paper draws upon examples from different member countries of the European Union, with an emphasis on Greece. It is concluded that European citizens should remain vigilant towards the far right, though avoiding oversimplifications and emotionally driven reactions that would allow corrupt, opportunistic leaders to amass political power by exploiting generalized fear against the far right. 

Keywords: Far right, politics, economics, social psychological perspective, Europe.
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Using Educational Technology to Improve Creativity and Socio-emotional-Learning Competences among Gifted and Talented Children

posted Nov 17, 2019, 11:56 AM by Sara D. Topciu   [ updated Nov 18, 2019, 10:49 AM ]

Mònica González-Carrasco1, Gemma Crous, Dolors Navarro, Ferran Casas, Marta Peracaula, Mariona Niell, Meritxell Estebanell & Jordi Freixenet
Journal of Social Research & PolicyVolume: 9, Issue: 2
Online First
Date: December 2018
ISSN: 2067-2640 (print), 2068-9861 (electronic)

Abstract: This paper presents the results of evaluating a Creative Computing-related activity in a non-formal setting conducted by 19 gifted and talented children aged between 8 and 12. We focus on how educational technologies can help high-skilled children manage their emotions and resolve conflicts, while at the same time promoting creativity, and problem-solving. A questionnaire was administered before and after the activity to gather children’s and their parents’ opinions. Results show that the activity was highly motivating, while also having some impact on enhancing socio-emotional learning competences such as emotion identification. Parents also perceived positive changes, although their perspective differed from that of their children with regard to the issues raised. The activity implemented here opens the door to new ways of intervening with gifted and talented children, using educational technology to improve not only digital but also creative thinking skills and socio-emotional learning competences. 

Keywords: Socio-Emotional Learning Competences; Creativity; Thinking Skills; Gifted and Talented Children; Educational Technologies.
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An Examination of the Relationship between Food Security and Body Weight in Children

posted Oct 29, 2019, 3:47 AM by Sara D. Topciu   [ updated Oct 29, 2019, 3:53 AM ]

Elyse Barletta-Sherwin1 & Ramona Stone
Journal of Social Research & PolicyVolume: 9, Issue: 2
, Online First
Date: December 2018
ISSN: 2067-2640 (print), 2068-9861 (electronic)

Abstract: This observational study examined the association between food security and healthy weight in children ages 6 to 12, using the 2013-2014 NHANES cross-sectional survey. The relationship between children’s food security and their weight was tested using logistic regression, while controlling for race, gender, physical activity, and poverty level. A significant association was found; children in households with low or very low food security were about 2.4 times more likely to be overweight than those with full or marginally secure food. Hispanic and multi-racial children were more than twice as likely to be overweight than white children. Children from low-income families, yet ineligible for food subsidies, were 62.4% more likely to be overweight or obese than those in higher income brackets. The significant relationship between food security and children’s weight suggests that the current eligibility criteria for federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits, and the types of approved subsidized foods, should be revised so that low-income children have better access to higher-quality food. Gaps in access to nutritious food are indicative of larger social, political, and economic problems adversely impacting the health of children in economically disadvantaged groups. 

Keywords: food security; childhood obesity; health disparities; food assistance. 

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Role of actors in informal settlements real estate market

posted Jul 31, 2019, 5:20 AM by Sara D. Topciu   [ updated Jul 31, 2019, 5:22 AM ]

Akunnaya Pearl Opoko1, Adedapo Adewunmi Oluwatayo, Bayo Amole & Ekundayo Adeyinka Adeyemi
Journal of Social Research & PolicyVolume: 9, Issue: 1
pp. 55-68
Date: July 2018
ISSN: 2067-2640 (print), 2068-9861 (electronic)

Abstract: Literature suggests that majority of the urban housing in cities of many developing countries is provided in informal settlements through informal housing delivery systems. Due to their clandestine nature, their activities and modes of operation are often not well understood. This paper examines the role played by both the government agencies and other market actors in the functioning and regulation of informal real estate land markets, especially in Lagos, Nigeria. A survey was carried out with the use of questionnaires and interviews. The analysis of the data reveals that there is a thriving property market, which appears to have some form of social regulation. The role of each of the actors, varying from informants, buyers, sellers, financiers, witnesses and government, are discussed. The paper concludes that the thriving informal real estate market needs to be strengthened to effectively cater for the housing needs of urban residents.This paper contributes to discussions on informal real estate markets in developing countries by examining the structure and mechanisms that govern urban real estate markets in informal settlements through a case study of Ayobo community in Lagos, Nigeria, an area where empirical work has been sparse.

Keywords: Developing Countries; Informal Settlements; Land Market Actors, Nigeria; Real Estate Market.
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Forms of Social Exclusion in Familistic Welfare Capitalism: Family Homelessness in Athens

posted Jul 31, 2019, 4:57 AM by Sara D. Topciu   [ updated Jul 31, 2019, 6:20 AM ]

Nikos Kourachanis1
Journal of Social Research & PolicyVolume: 9, Issue: 1
pp. 69-80
Date: July 2018
ISSN: 2067-2640 (print), 2068-9861 (electronic)

Abstract:This article critically examines the adequacy, limitations and problems of familistic welfare capitalism in protecting vulnerable groups against poverty and social exclusion. After discussing the general characteristics of the familistic type, the predominant role of the family in it as well as the crisis it is undergoing, the article examines the paths of singleparent families towards homelessness in Athens. The field research reveals the structural deficiencies of this type of protection: The absence of family support, housing and family policy residuality, precarious employment, and the conservative culture of the European South are likely to expose vulnerable groups to risks that directly threaten the protection of human life.

Keywords: Crisis; Greece; Social Policy; Southern Europe; Welfare State Regimes.

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Factor Structure and Personality Disorder Correlates of Responses to the 50-Item IPIP Big Five Factor Marker Scale

posted Jul 23, 2019, 5:57 AM by Sara D. Topciu   [ updated Jul 23, 2019, 6:29 AM by Sergiu Baltatescu ]

Theresa M. Robertson, Awa Jangha, Ralph L. Piedmont1, Martin F. Sherman & Joseph E. G. Williams 
Journal of Social Research & PolicyVolume: 8, Issue: 2
pp. 5-17
Date: December 2017
ISSN: 2067-2640 (print), 2068-9861 (electronic)

Abstract: Given the prevalence of the use of the 50-item International Personality Item Pool Big Five Marker Scale (IPIP-50) in
psychological research, it is important to demonstrate that responses to the scale are both psychometrically robust, and
clinically relevant. Data obtained from 459 participants were analyzed to examine the factor structure, cross-cultural
relevance, and potential clinical value of responses to the IPIP-50. Mean level gender differences were significant on
four of the five IPIP-50 personality domains. Principal component analyses revealed that not only was the IPIP-50 five
factor structure recovered from responses by this sample, but comparison of the factor loadings with those from three
Scottish samples presented by Gow et al. (2005) indicated convergence across these two cultures. Canonical correlation
analyses revealed strong associations between IPIP-50 scores and International Personality Disorder Examination
(IPDE) scores, and between IPIP-50 scores and the External Validators Scale (EVS) scores, supporting the clinical
utility of scores from this scale.

Keywords: IPIP-50; Factor Structure; Predictive Validity; Cross-Cultural Generalizability.  
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How to Use Life History in Sociology?

posted Jul 13, 2019, 12:49 PM by Sara D. Topciu   [ updated Jul 31, 2019, 4:48 AM ]

Zsuzsanna Bögre1

Journal of Social Research & PolicyVolume: 9, Issue: 1
, pp. 41-54
Date: July 2018
ISSN: 2067-2640 (print), 2068-9861 (electronic)

Abstract: In this study I present how life history method may contribute to better understanding of society and culture or historical periods. The past lives in the present–as they say. “Putting together” a person’s life–according to different aspects– complements the social self-awareness. First, I briefly summarize the characteristics of life history, then I describe some aspects of analysis and after these I will present a concrete life history analysis. The last step was when I drew attention to theory–that it is worthwhile to support and sum up the narrative of life history with a carefully chosen theory. 

Keywords: Biography Methods; Personal Documents; Life History; Turning Points; Analysis of Life Stories
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Sri Wening Handayani and Babken Babajanian (Eds). Social protection for older persons: Social pensions in Asia. Asian Development Bank Publishing, 2012, 296 p.

posted Jul 13, 2019, 12:40 PM by Sara D. Topciu   [ updated Jul 31, 2019, 11:52 AM by Sergiu Baltatescu ]

Rathny Suy, Leaksmy Chhay & Catherine Wanjiru Mbugua
Journal of Social Research & Policy
Volume: 9, Issue: 1, pp. 93-94
Date: July 2018
ISSN: 2067-2640 (print), 2068-9861 (electronic)
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Confucianism and Soft Power of China

posted Apr 24, 2019, 3:09 AM by Sara D. Topciu   [ updated Jul 31, 2019, 5:09 AM ]

Nguyen Thi My Hanh1

Journal of Social Research & PolicyVolume: 9, Issue: 1
pp. 81-92
Date: July 2018
ISSN: 2067-2640 (print), 2068-9861 (electronic)

Abstract: China is on a journey to become a global power, using “Chinese Renaissance” as its prime vehicle to emerge from the position of a regional superpower and compete with the United States of America. The desire to open a “Chinese Age” in world history is great; the goal is to become a “leading nation”, “leader” of the world. The cultural revival of Confucianism, and its promotion as the dominant Chinese value system, is one of the more effective measures China has employed to increase its “gravity”, or soft power, in the international arena. Unfortunately, China has not succeeded in elevating these values to universal values, and therefore hasn’t turned Confucian culture into an effective soft power. Moreover, if Confucian culture isn’t naturally developed from its own civil society in the American way, it is not free to exchange, expose, and learn with other cultural and educational products in the world, but is always subjected to imprisonment by the government. If the latter is the case, the dream of Chinese soft power from Confucianism will remain unfinished.

Keywords: Chinese Soft Power; Global Power; Confucianism; Confucian Culture; Universal Value.

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