A look behind the doors of this year’s ADvent calendar

By Lewis Davis and Rachel Hedger, second year Sociology students.

With John Lewis setting the precedent for Christmas adverts over the preceding years, you may well have had high hopes for this year’s festive flurry hitting your screens (and we don’t mean snow on your windscreen!). But after 2016 proved itself to be a pretty miserable year – Bowie, Wood, Rickman, Wogan (Brexit and Trump, too!) – the big businesses thought we deserved to be cheered up and these ads are definitely “more in tune with the Christmas the nation wants and needs to have in 2016” (Marketing Week, 2016). What they didn’t expect, however, was how happy their adverts would make us sociologists; adverts featuring prominent characters from minority ethnic backgrounds, empowered women and same-sex couples – bringing to the forefront traditionally marginalised groups. Not only this, but they focus on the feeling of Christmastime rather than turning this holiday into a commercial opportunity! (However, it can be argued they are buying our custom by creating this positive feeling inside us…) Continue reading

Discovering Sociology

The British Sociological Association (BSA) has just launched its new ‘Discover  Sociology’ site, packed with interesting articles and useful resources. The site is aimed at sociology students and secondary school teachers, with teaching resources supporting key ideas and concepts; research methods; and topics ranging from education and crime to social inequalities, health, and families. Check it out!

Changing names and gendering identity

By Rachel Thwaites.

Writing about names might seem trivial.  Sociologists certainly seem to have thought it wasn’t important, with a real lack of naming research in this discipline.  Yet names are important signifiers: of personal identity, familial links, and even social roles; they help us to delineate between people, enact contracts, and speak to people in the everyday.  They are a crucial part of social organisation in any society and are bound up with social values and norms.  In Britain, the last name continues to have a particularly gendered significance and it is this which my research addresses. Continue reading