Questions for my 100 Followers

I’ve officially reached 100 followers! When I started this blog I didn’t think I’d attract that many people but a couple of months later and here we are.

Having reached this milestone I wanted to ask my readers a few questions about what they would like to see on my blog:

  1. Would you like me to draw up a schedule (and stick to it) specifying when I post particular areas of interest? I’ve noticed some people only read/comment on certain subjects, would this method be easier for them?
  2. Or would it be ok for me to continue posting how I am, varying my subjects but trying to spread them out? For instance, I may post a few craft projects but I do not publish them within days of one another, instead they are used as ‘breaks’ from sociological articles. This method would be less stressful for me as a schedule would put me under pressure especially during term-time.
  3. I haven’t posted any book posts/reviews for a while. Would you like to see more? Or is this not my forte? (be honest)
  4. I’m taking up photography as a new hobby, do you like seeing the odd photo published as a change? Or should these be posted elsewhere?
  5. Why do you read my blog? What is it that caused you to push the ‘follow’ button?
  6. Is there anything else you would like to say?

Please leave any answers in a comment; it would be greatly appreciated 🙂 Thank you.



The Naked Prince

Prince Harry was photographed (naked) in a Las Vegas hotel room playing strip billiards. If you live in Britain you would’ve heard this story several times over and are frankly sick of it but I wanted to know what the big fuss was all about.

Now, who honestly thought the 27 year old was a virgin? Why can’t he join in the Las Vegas spirit and relax? Why are you so angry at the poor bloke?

Not only is everyone mad at the Prince for allowing himself to be exposed in such a manner but I’ve heard very few reports addressing the security.

Personally, I believe the poor guy should be allowed his privacy. And as for embarrassing the royal family I think in some areas of the UK and probably around the world he’s increased his ‘street cred’ and gained more respect. This behaviour surely shows he’s no different to anybody else. Using this logic, his privacy should be the same as everybody else’s, if semi-naked pictures were printed of a regular citizen they could sue and everyone would be in an outrage over the issue.

Saying this, the Sun found that after they printed the pictures with the excuse ‘everyone’s seen them anyway’ 3600 complaints were filed to the Press Complaints Commission from the public who thought the Prince had a right to a private life.

I read today that a few soldiers in the Army and their wives/girlfriends have photographed themselves naked or semi-naked in support for Prince Harry and posted pictures to a facebook group site. The group ‘Support Prince Harry With A Naked Salute’ has over 13,000 members and rising – a great idea though I don’t think I’ve got the confidence J

Prince Harry’s first public appearance after the scandal is tonight at the Paralympic opening ceremony and I don’t think he’s got anything to be ashamed of and can go out there with his head held high knowing he’s not the one in the wrong. Do you agree?


Related articles


Weekly Photo Challenge: Urban

Ok, so I’m not an urban girl. I avoid large masses of people and only venture into cities for specific reasons. When I do brave the crowds it’s not often I stop long enough to take photo, I want to go home as soon as possible. There are many people who will be thinking “What? Why?” but it’s an inherited trait.

Saying this, when I do go to the great cities of the world I pay attention. The first photo was taken in London three or four years ago when I went round parliament. The others were taken in Paris a couple of years ago, and although it’s not very patriotic, Paris is far nicer. Paris is such a beautiful city, although it’s obviously urban it seems cleaner and calmer, I don’t have many pictures of London so you’ve only got the one to compare the others with. Do you agree? Or do you prefer London?

This week’s challenge  stated urban photography demonstrates social and cultural aspects as well as the image itself. In these photos art, history, culture and architecture are represented and these are the elements I believe are at the centre of Parisian life. It’s what the French are proud of, what tourists (like me) come to see and are recognisable all over the world. I say forget London, go to Paris 😀

I loved how the light fell and was so lucky to capture it, this photo makes me feel quite nostalgic.

I’m not sure what the blur in the bottom left, maybe the person in the middle was shaking their head really quickly just as I took the photo?

This one’s a bit blury but oh well 🙂 to see more entries all in one place.

Socialisation: Part Two

Theories of socialisation

There are three approaches to socialisation; they all contribute different understandings of socialisation:

Psychoanalytic theory (S. Freud)

Freud focused on the unconscious mind and how emotions drive people towards particular actions and behaviours, primarily the desire for pleasurable experiences and sexual gratification. He asserted the conscious mind, otherwise known as the ego, is dominated by attempts to control such unconscious drives.

As for socialisation, psychoanalytic theory states the first few years are crucial for the formation of ‘self’. A sense of morality is gradually internalised and becomes part of the conscious mind, called the ‘superego’.

Psychoanalysis looks at the relationship between the surface structure of consciousness and the deeper, inner structure of the unconscious, much of the early psychoanalytical theory emphasised the biological bases of emotions and the ways in which people learn to try to control their natural tendencies. Later psychoanalysts broadened this perspective and recognised the cultural origin of these unconscious drives

Sigmund Freud argued that the core elements of the personality are formed during childhood, the first few years of life develops a sense of self, morality and conscious orientation to the world. Parental prohibitions and punishments are gradually internalised by the child as knowledge of right and wrong in their conscience. There are several studies looking at how parents and teachers can instil expected codes of behaviour in children, Thorndike and Pavlov are the first two who come to mind but their thoughts are for another time and post.

Role-learning theory (structural-functionalist approach)

A structural-functionalist approach which stresses the importance of learning the norms that make up role expectations. It rejects biological reductionism and states social roles are blueprints for action learned through interaction; systems of rewards and punishments induce conformity to role expectations. This process of internalisation guarantees the maintenance of conformity over time.

Social roles are treated as social facts as determined by Durkheim: they are seen as institutionalised social relationships; matters of constraint rather than choice e.g. people aren’t free to renegotiate what it is to be a doctor, teacher, mother, or father.

Conformity to role expectations is a result of external pressure through the rewards and punishments that people apply to each others behaviour. Role-learning theory emphasises a process of role-taking: it sees people as taking on culturally given roles and acting them out in a mechanical way. People’s actions are seen as almost completely determined by the cultural definitions and expectations that they have learned through socialisation.

  Symbolic interactionism (C.H. Cooley, G. H. Mead, E. Goffman)

Focuses on the formation of self through social interaction; role-playing as a creative process (not just enacting things learned during socialisation). It originated in the social psychology of William James and was developed in its classic form by George Herbert Mead at the University of Chicago. Herbert Blumer then coined the name symbolic interactionism to distinguish it from mainstream structural-functionalist sociology.

Symbolic interactionism  places strong emphasis on the roles of symbols (gestures and objects) and language as core elements of all human interaction. It sees society as a set of fluid and flexible networks of interactions and their consequences within which we act.  Socialisation involves a more active role of individuals.

Charles Horton Cooley

Developed the hypothesis that we learn who we are by interacting with others; our view of ourselves comes from our impressions of how others perceive us. Cooley used the phrase “looking-glass self” to emphasise that the self is the product of our social interactions with other people; just like the reflections from a mirror, the self depends on the perceived responses of others.

The process of developing a self-identity of self-concept has three phases:

  1. First we imagine how we present ourselves to others
  2. Then we imagine how others evaluate us (attractive, intelligent, shy or strange)
  3. Finally, we develop some sort of feeling about ourselves, such as, respect or shame

 George Herbert Mead

Is best known for his theory of the self, according to Mead the self begins at a privileged, central position in a person’s world. Young children picture themselves as the focus of everything around them and find it difficult to consider the perspectives of others. This childhood tendency to place ourselves at the centre of events never entirely disappears. As people mature the self changes and begins to reflect greater concern about the reactions of others.

In Mead’s terminology there are two aspects of the self: the ‘I’ and the ‘Me’. The ‘I’ is the source of action, but other people observe and react towards the ‘Me’. The ‘Me’ is the social self, constructed through interactions with others and reflecting the attitudes that they adopt. The social self develops at the age of 4 or 5. At 8 or 9 children begin to take on the attitude of what Mead calls the generalised other, they begin to infer the common or widely held values of their society by generalising from particular adults to society in general. They begin to consider how other people in general within their society might react to particular kinds of actions. The attitudes of the generalised others become the voice of their moral conscious.

This theory took several readings but eventually it made sense – sort of.

 Erving Goffman

How do we manage our self? How do we display to others who we are?

Goffman suggested that many (if not all) of our daily activities involve attempts to convey impressions of who we are. His observations help to understand how we learn to present ourselves socially.

  • Impression management (1959) à Early in life individuals learn to manage their presentation of the self to create distinct appearances and satisfy particular audiences.
  • Dramaturgical model à Goffman makes so many parallels to the theatre that his view has been termed the dramaturgical approach. According to the perspective, people resemble performers in action e.g. a clerk may try to appear busier if a supervisor happens to be watching
  • Face work à how often do we initiate face-saving behaviour because of embarrassment or rejection? We need to maintain a proper image of the self if we are to continue social interaction

Goffman’s work of the self represents a logical progression of the sociological studies begun by Cooley and Mead on how a sense of self-identity is acquired through socialisation and how we manage the presentation of self to others. Cooley stressed the process by which we come to create a self; Mead focused on how the self develops as we learn to interact with others, Goffman emphasised the ways in which we consciously create images of ourselves to others.

Do any of these theories or approaches ring true for you? Personally, I see a few elements which are relatable such as Cooley’s realisation that our perceptions of ourselves can depend on the opinions of others and the role-learning theory stating that the definition of ‘doctor’ or ‘mother’ are more or less stable in Western culture.

Felt Rug

Jacob Sheep Fleece

Another mother and daughter project. We did this on an extremely warm day (well for England anyway) and rolled it out on the trampoline.

The rug is made from a Jacob sheep’s fleece I brought at the Woolfest, felt fibres of a similar colour to the fleece are laid on the back – or inside – of the fleece. The net is then placed over it and wetted.

Covered with netting

Unfortunately because of the thickness of the fleece it just wouldn’t soak though so I had the brilliant idea of spraying it with the hosepipe. After spraying myself to cool down, the fleece was finally wet. It then needed rubbing to make sure the fibres were stable before rolling. We then washed it in several changes of water, it’s surprising how heavy it gets and how dirty the water is, before putting it in the washing machine.

It took all day and is more tiring than it looks, especially in the heat. Anyway, here’s the finished product, I particularly like the mottled effect of the fleece – not a bad buy for £4.

Weekly Writing Challenge: Life as a Laptop

I’d never really heard of, and certainly not thought about Active Voice vs. Passive Voice before, I may have altered sentences before to change the emphasis but never consciously though ‘this should be active’. I suppose some of my older readers will be grumbling ‘what do they teach them in schools nowadays!’ I have to say, I agree. I did English at A level and this distinction was never mentioned, maybe a creative writing element should be added to the course?

Anyway, this weeks challenge was to ‘listen to the voices in you head’. To see the full challenge click here. I would appreciate your opinions as this diverges from my usual writing style, thank you.

Life as a Laptop

I have sat here, on the floor under the sofa, quiet and comfortable all day. It has been peaceful, no disturbances or interruptions from careless two-legged beings. Occasionally one of these inhabitants of the room where I lay folds themselves into a chair and stares dreary-eyed at a fellow screen. I know at some point my services will be called upon and I will be required to reach out into the cloud and drag relevant images and words to my screen.

Sure enough, I am picked up and placed on a denim-clad lap, my cable starts gently vibrating as sparks of electricity forces me out of a thoughtful slumber. Uncaring fingers prod soundly on my keys before my prized ‘Enter’ button is slammed ungraciously. I can feel the tics and twinges of my circuitry being unwound and the laps’ owner sighs and settles back anticipating a couple of hours of stress-free internet browsing.

For some reason, I find this to be irritating. Grumpily I decide not today mate!

I allow the home screen to load, complete with a photo of the four-legged fluffy thing which sniffs and bats at my wires once in a while. I then cunningly lull the stubby, ungrateful fingers into a false sense of security as the Google home page pops up. A few minutes of browsing pointless you-tube videos, I feel a sense of glee and anticipation as the page stutters and declares: “Windows is not responding”.

Ha-ha got you! What you gonna do now punk? Damn those videos.

A swear word is uttered from up above and as the page freezes I am turned off.

And on again.

I sigh, so predictable. A couple more of these instances and I will be allowed to recover back in my place on the floor. Maybe I’ll read a book, Austen or Brontë perhaps. My English needs rejuvenating after being forced to view bad gangster scenes by the inferior object whose lap I warm.