Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Exploring the relevance of Townsend’s ideas in the 21st century. Key points Abbreviated/picked over by Mark Aldiss


Exploring the relevance of Townsend’s ideas in the 21st century. Key points

Abbreviated/picked over by Mark Aldiss

About the study
The research is mainly based on analysis of the first wave of the ESRC Understanding Society
household panel survey. The data relate to almost 100,000 individuals in nearly 40,000 households that are representative of the UK population. The interviews were conducted in 2009 and 2010.
The analysis of children’s participation utilises the separate Millennium Cohort Study; interviews were conducted with children and their parents or carers when the 19,000 sampled children were aged 8 in 2008. The findings are based on analysis using modern statistical tools.

Poverty, participation and choice



  • • Participation in society can be measured in terms of social relationships, membership of organisations, trust in other people, ownership of possessions and purchase of services. All are lower among people with low incomes.

  • • However, while participation generally drops as income declines, participation stops falling among the 30 per cent or so of people with the lowest incomes creating a participation ‘floor’; among this group, those with higher incomes do not have measurably increased living standards, greater social participation or higher levels of trust.

  • • The 30 per cent of people with the lowest incomes are also forced to choose between the basic necessities of modern life; they must decide which needs to neglect.

  • • For people affected by the floor, additional income may well be spent on upgrading the quality of necessary goods and services rather than adding to them.

  • • Averages mask important variation. The participation floor for benefit recipients is lower than for other groups on the same income.

  • • Most minority ethnic groups experience greater material deprivation than the white majority but social participation is, on average, higher.

  • • Children’s engagement in school life and friends is not directly affected by household income.

  • • However, parents on low incomes, on average, play less often with their children and spend less on activities. This is associated with poorer educational outcomes as judged by teachers.

  • • Low income parents frequently spend more time than affluent ones assisting children with their school work because they have fallen behind their classmates.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION
This summary is part of JRF’s research and development programme. The views are those of the authors and not necessarily those 
of the JRF.

This is a summary of a larger report Poverty, Participation and Choice: The Legacy of Peter Townsend by Emanuele Ferragina, 
Mark Tomlinson and Robert Walker published by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

Read more summaries at www.jrf.org.uk
Other formats available
ISSN 0958–3084

Joseph Rowntree Foundation
The Homestead
40 Water End
York YO30 6WP
Tel: 01904 615905

email: publications@jrf.org.uk

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Pirates take a chunk of Iceland

REYKJAVIK, Iceland -- Iceland, a nation of seafarers, has been stormed by pirates.

They won't be forming the government, but online freedom advocates the Pirate Party were still big winners in the country's election.

The party, just a few months old, took 5.1 percent of the vote in Saturday's poll, gaining three of the 63 seats in Iceland's parliament, the Althingi.

It is the biggest electoral trophy yet for a movement founded seven years ago in Sweden by a group of rebellious file-sharing geeks and hackers who scoffed at copyright laws.

Now, its Icelandic leader says, the party is "the political arm of the information revolution," dedicated to freedom of expression and political transparency, online and off.

Birgitta Jonsdottir, the most senior of Iceland's three victorious Pirate lawmakers, argues that political and legal structures around the world have not kept pace with the technological change that has transformed the way we live. She compares it to new software that can't run on an old computer.

"We feel that most people, not only in Iceland but all over the world, feel that the institutions that are set up no longer function for us," she said.

"We need to create a new mainframe, a new hardware for this stuff."

The Pirate Party was founded in Sweden in 2006, its name a taunt to the anti-piracy activities of copyright-holders, its logo a buccaneering black flag.

It has spread to countries including the United States, but has had its greatest electoral success in northern Europe.

Sweden has elected two Pirate members to the European Parliament, and last year a Pirate candidate was elected to the Czech Republic's upper house, the Senate. There are several dozen Pirate deputies at state level in Germany, and the party could gain national seats there in September's election.

The Icelandic party was founded late last year, but the volcanic North Atlantic nation - population 320,000 - has a long history as a bastion of technological and political experimentation. Physically isolated near the Arctic Circle, it is one of the world's most wired countries and has been a hub for the online secret-spilling group WikiLeaks. Jonsdottir has worked with WikiLeaks in the past.

In 2011 the country announced it would crowd-source a new constitution, allowing Icelanders through Facebook and other online platforms to submit ideas directly to, and debate with, an elected committee set up to draft the new document.

For some Icelanders, the Pirates made an appealing party of protest. Five years after its debt-swollen banks collapsed during the global credit crisis, the country still faces high inflation, capital controls and a deflated currency, while many Icelanders are still struggling to pay off mortgage debts made bigger by the crisis.

The main contenders in Saturday's election were the center-right parties that led Iceland into the crash and the left-wing coalition that has been implementing painful austerity measures ever since.

"The Pirates have a cool factor," said travel agent Hilmar Einarsson. "They are not typical politicians, but represent ordinary Icelanders. We want our country back, and they understand that more than any other party here in Iceland."

Others found the party's success mystifying.

"It was primarily a shock because their extreme view is considered by most (as) only appealing to punks still stuck in the '80s," said entertainment consultant Daddi Gudbergsson.