B.A. Hons. 2010
GENDER INEQUALITY IN THE WORKFORCE
Graduate Tracer Study of Sociology and Social Studies Graduates (2005-2009)
This dissertation is about gender inequality in the working force, with particular focus on Sociology and Social
Studies students who have graduated in the past five years. Furthermore, it looks at the recent transition these graduates are experiencing from graduating to entering the labour market. Moreover, this dissertation will quantitatively explore whether both males and females are facing the realities of labour market in the same way.
Data was analyzed using Statistical Package for the Social Science (SPSS). In addition, this study investigates if these graduates are coming across problems such as wage discrepancy on the basis of gender, equality of opportunities, and if both genders are facing the same treatment in their working environment. The main results of this study show that Sociology and Social Studies graduates are not finding same working conditions and outcomes. Another main recommendation which derived from this study is that Sociology and Social Studies graduates have difficulties to find entries in the labour market. Something should be done to improve this situation to ensure facility for future Sociology and Social Studies graduates.
Keywords o Gender Ideology o Gender Wage-Gap o Part-Time Work o Job Satisfaction o Labour Force Participation o Gender Segregation o Work Environments
I BEFRIENDED A FACE
A Sociological Inquiry of Social Networking Sites in Relation to the Self and the Online Social Activities.
This study focuses on how social networking sites, especially Facebook, are influencing the social communicative experiences of students attending the University of Malta. It aims at injecting a sociological element in this new realm of online social networking, an area which is experiencing a growing sociological interest. Through the use of two qualitative techniques, namely interviews and online participant observation, a rich and genuine first hand outflow of information is possible, aiding in the in-depth analysis of the emerging issues, namely, dealing with the presentation of the self and the various mechanisms used, the online web of social connections, the
Sociology Dissertations private and public boundaries, and finally security issues.
Keywords o Facebook o Internet o Self-presentation o Boundaries o Social Networking o Space o University Students
IS RELIGION IN TRANSITION?
Trends of Religiosity in a small Gozitan Village.
This dissertation gives an outlook on the contemporary religious situation among youth in the small village of
Sannat, Gozo. For the purpose of this research fifty questionnaires were distributed to twenty-five males and twenty-five females, which were chosen through the use of quota sampling techniques. The participants were asked questions regarding Church attendance, on how they perceive religion in today’s society, on the role of religion in their life and on how they relate to religious beliefs and values. The main finding of this research is that for these youth religion still plays an important role in their life. Religion is still perceived as having an integral part in the Maltese culture and identity.
Keywords o Youth o Religiosity o Sannat o Congregational o Morality o Ritual o Identity o Culture o Cosmology
THERE’S MORE THAN MEETS THE EAR
A Political-Sociological Investigation into Invisible, Intangible Power in the Sonic Appropriation of Space
This work addresses the intrinsic link between space and social interaction. It discusses the social manufacturing of space in relation to its sonic production, taking as its key object the study of atonal sound made by fireworks in Maltese parish festas
The seasonal fireworks displays in Malta hence provide merely a temporary sonic appropriation of space, yet both their production as well as subsequent debates on their appropriateness, are indicative and constitutive of an array of notions of Maltese identity, including gender roles, moderation and morality, status of social groups and our Euro-Mediterranean cultural location.
Christine M. Cassar
Keywords o Fireworks o Malta o Sociology o Anthropology o Sound o Space
Exploring the Maltese Social Policy Model
This dissertation is about the exploration of the traits of the Maltese welfare state in comparison to the mainstream welfare regimes. Many studies have taken place to determine the various characteristics of several welfare regimes which capitalist countries comprise in relation to their welfare state. Furthermore, the three man welfare regimes established by these studies are the Conservative, Liberal and Social Democratic; and eventually the Southern European welfare state. This study deduces that Malta has no clear-cut traits that replicate one particular model of welfare. Moreover, Malta has a hybrid system of welfare as a result of certain factors such as Malta’s colonial history, the country’s geographical location, the importance of the Church, EU membership; among others.
THE ROLE OF THE ETC (EMPLOYMENT AND TRAINING CORPORATION) TO ENSURE A SOCIALLY
INCLUSIVE SOCIETY IN RESPECT OF FEMALES IN GOZO
To be fully emancipated, women have to enjoy the same rights as men in the working place and be provided with
Sociology Dissertations equal employment opportunities. This study is focused on female participation in the Gozitan labour market. The female unemployed registering at the ETC Gozo centre and the factors which are keeping Gozitan women away from work have been analysed. Special attention was given to the views of female unemployed themselves and these were compared to those of the male employed. This study was widened and deepened by taking the views of the policy makers. A link was created between labour market training and women’s empowerment through the implementation of new elements within training. The data collected also served to find out whether ETC policies and programmes matched the expectations and views of registrants. After a number of relevant conclusions had been drawn, a number of suggestions were compiled to address the challenges faced by registering female unemployed in the light of the conclusion drawn. There is no doubt that in the future ethnic and gender stereotypes strengths should be valued and stereotypes and ideologies eliminated. In this respect, it is hoped that this study instigates further and deeper research which will be converted to solutions for the present drawbacks women employed are facing.
CITIZENS OR CONSUMERS?
Youth Identity in Malta
This dissertation deals with the interplay between three main areas namely, youth identity, consumption and ecological citizenship. It examines young people’s autonomy in their consumption and the considerations they take when buying. This study also deals with young people’s decisions regarding transport, the actions they take to protect the environment, green consumerism and how all this relates to their identity. For this research a qualitative approach was used. The outcomes of this research show that there is tension but also interconnectedness between youth identity, consumption and ecological citizenship and that young people’s lifestyles and identity revolve around various interests.
Keywords o Consumption o Ecological Citizenship o Environment o Identity o Youth
CITIZEN OR CONSUMER?
Advertisements and Their Effect on Youth Identity in Malta
The research agenda attempts to reveal whether individual agency is expressed in the interpretation of advertising or rather as shown further on in the hypotheses section, whether agency itself is produced by the very act of interpreting advertisements/ this brings us to the question: Citizen or Consumer? Are our actions as social beings our own or are they the byproduct of advertisements? This question will be handled by looking at the meaning behind the activity of consumption and by uncovering the reasons to which citizens as consumers choose goods over others.
This dissertation will examine whether advertisements indeed effect young people and the way they look at themselves in respect to the citizen versus consumer discourse. It also reveals how advertisements help to form a youth identity further by inducing in youths the belief, that the ideas illustrated on the various types of media are ultimately their own desires.
The idea of advertising itself is merely a concept which is responsible for the creation of desires and which induces in social beings’ mainly in youths as in the case of this dissertation, a need to consume.
Keywords o Advertisements o Youth o Agency o Consumption o Citizenship
MEN AND THEIR CARS:
Power, Identity and the Transformation of Cars in Contemporary Malta
Cars are described as “living room[s] on wheels” (March and Collett, 1986). As cars are considered to be an object of individual consumption, auto mobility is imbued with meanings and an important source of power and identity. For Hebdige (1989) modified cars emerge as “symbolic resistance” and the innovations and creativity involved in car transformation and the subcultures that form around this passion entail aesthetic elements which are “gesture[s] of defiance” ( ibid.
). The study investigates the onset of interest in car transformation, the intensification of interest and involvement in car transformation subculture. The study also tackles issues of societal reaction to car transformation and indicators of status within the subculture. The financial impact of preference for modified cars and related consumption patterns are also discussed. This study entailed a qualitative approach in an attempt to immerse in the personal experiences and the emotional currents related to car transformation. Semi-structured interviews were held with seven male car transformation lovers. Findings
Sociology Dissertations indicate that onset of interest started at the younger stages of life and reflects different motivations. Most of the respondents claimed to have a negative societal reaction to their involvement with modified cars, particularly in so far as people outside car transformation subculture are concerned. Despite all this the study’s participants anticipate the implementation of more modified projects in the future. Respondents regard car modification as an endless project since it is an instrument to mediate thoughts (Bull, 2003), express creativity and as a crucial part of individual and social identity.
Keywords o Transformed Cars o Car Transformation Subculture o Power o Identity o Consumption Patterns o Societal Reaction
HANDICAPPING THE INCLUSION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITY IN MALTESE MODERN SOCIETY
The study focuses on whether Maltese modern society is limiting the roles that persons with disability have the right to play being citizens. The major factors dealing with this issue were the attitude of the general public; physical and social barriers; special schools; equality in education, gainful employment and forming a family; and positive and negative discrimination.
The dissertation was based on the qualitative research method carried out by semi-structured interviews with the participants. Attitudes, feelings and individual experiences were gathered with the help of the qualitative method used. This was supported by literature and local research.
After analyzing the various views and experiences, the study concluded that Maltese modern society is still limiting the full participation of persons with disability. The inclusion of persons with disability within mainstream schools was found to be helpful for all the students. However, persons with disability are still being handicapped in the employment sector and also when trying to form a family. These handicaps are caused by negative attitudes and lack of awareness that the general public has regarding different disabilities. Therefore, in order for Maltese modern society to be an inclusive one with regards to persons with disability, attitudes of pity, dependence and paternalism need to be eliminated. Persons with disability should be given a chance to show their potential and be empowered to stand up for their rights. We cannot speak of inclusion when there are still social and physical barriers that handicap these persons. Recommendations were also given in order to
Sociology Dissertations make way for an inclusive society with regards to persons with disability.
Keywords o Handicap o Inclusion o Persons with Disability o Equality o Discrimination
THE MALTESE HOUSE-FATHER:
A Growing Phenomenon?
The family in Maltese society was always in the centre of many studies conducted. It is seen as an important institution in the transition of values from generation to the next. Studies however have always focused upon the traditional family, with little attention given to the other form of families. One of them being the family were the male is the house-father. The aim of this study is to see whether social and economic changes in Maltese society are leading to an increase number of males who become the house-fathers. The other objective is to see whether these house-fathers are capable to perform childcare and house care tasks. A qualitative interview with twentythree fathers was carried out. These fathers gave a clear account of their situation and outlined some of the main aspects within the Maltese society that are impinging upon the evolvement of this type of family, were the father becomes the main carer. At the end some suggestions on what are the factors that can help this family to evolve more are given.
SPATIAL DYNAMICS AND CRITICAL AWARENES OF INEQUALITY:
The Case of ĦaŜ-śebbuā
This is a preliminary study of the spatial distribution of social inequalities in ĦaŜ-śebbuā, a town with an estimated population of 12,200 situated in the middle of the central Mediterranean island of Malta, with special attention to its inhabitants’ own perception of the relationship between their place of residence and their ‘place’ in society as well, the relationship of these perceptions to social mobility as well as their possible impact on change of residence.
The study identifies a clear relationship between the locality’s periphery and the more socially mobile households. The age of the spouses or of the single persons forming these households falls in the 30 to 29 age
Sociology Dissertations bracket, closely followed by households in the 40 to 49 age bracket. At least one of the spouses or the single person concerned will have moved out of the parental dwelling, generally in the town core, and to purchase property
(generally a plot over which they build a maisonette) in areas on the outskirts of ĦaŜ-śebbuā where development is permitted by
Malta Environmental and Planning Authority’s Local Plan.
The potential for women to emancipate themselves from gender inequality is highest in the upwardly mobile ’30 to 39’ households where the female spouse is likely to have a higher level of education than the male spouse, is almost always in gainful employment and tends to earn more than him. The female spouse in the ’40 to 49’ bracket, however, will be less likely to be in employment and will have a lower level of education than her younger counterpart. Critical awareness of class inequality is likely to be more acute in the younger and more upwardly mobile groups.
ASPECTS OF SUBCULTURAL CAPITAL AMONGST DRUG USERS
Drug use is a meaningful and symbolic behaviour which develops into a distinctive and complex subculture with its own rituals and hierarchies. This study aims at exploring the complexities of this subculture. Based on eight individual, face-to-face and semi-structured interviews with drug users at the Caritas Rehabilitation Centre, this study examines the type and extent of subcultural capital which exists amongst drug users. It is evident, from the data gathered, that drug users do not only distinguish themselves from the rest of society but also from other users in their subculture, mainly on the basis of their status within the subculture. Drug users in the subculture who provide and help procure the drug of choice enjoy a strong status in the subculture’s hierarchy. However, many drug users prefer just to use the drug, as selling and procurement is a risky and demanding role which some do not want to take.
Ann Marie Vella
Keywords o Drug Use o Subculture o Subcultural Capital o Drug Use Career o Identity
Sociology Dissertations o Enculturation
‘IN MEDIO STAT VIRTUS’
A Qualitative Exploration of Synergic Cosmopolitanism amongst University Students
This study uses a grounded qualitative methodology to examine the construction and practice of synergic forms of cosmopolitanism, amongst three academic courses located within the University of Malta. By conducting extensive in-depth interviews with students, lecturers and leading public intellectuals in Malta, this study explores how cosmopolitanism embodies different forms between social groups, which experience divergent forms of a synergic inter-play between local and cosmopolitan values and sensibilities within their value systems. This study demonstrates that as contemporary social changes catalyse the development of cosmopolitanism within society, group members oscillate between the demands of both local and cosmopolitan life-spheres; maintaining membership to ‘identity promoting mechanisms’ which enable actors to mediate and balance attachments and commitments to national or local systems of meaning, whilst also embodying and practicing genuine forms of practical cosmopolitanism. On this basis, this study demonstrates how national and cosmopolitan sensibilities are not inherently antagonistic, but that in contemporary society, both of these cultural articulations are intricately intertwined and balanced, by key social possess latent functions that enable both fields to remain in play.
Keywords o Cosmopolitanism o Cosmopolitanisation o Globalisation Small Islands o Solidarity o University Students o Ulrich Beck o Ulf Hannerz
THE FAMILY LIFE OF THE MALTESE WHO WORK IN EU INSTITUTIONS:
A Case Study of Transnational Kinship
This dissertation analyses the transnational lives and kinship relations of Maltese citizens currently working for the European Union institutions based in Brussels and Luxembourg. Respondents attributed a lot of importance to the contributions made by the formal infrastructures of the European Union as these help to facilitate their transnational family lives. Moreover, technologies of communication, in particular the internet, are seen as vital in maintaining these transnational relations; without them such relationships would not be sustained as effectively as one may desire. Technologies of communication are perceived as means through which they can
Sociology Dissertations remain in contact with their kin even though living at a distance from them. Such a finding however does not indicate that place does not matter. Place matters still as physical presence is still attributed a lot of importance.
This is clearly portrayed in the frequency of visits made by some of my informants. Thus, even though these technologies of remote communication successfully sustain relationships, they can never fully replace physical presence.
Keywords o EU Workers o Kinship o Transnationalism o Technologies of Communication
THE ECOLOGICAL IMPACT OF THE INTRODUCTION OF PLASTIC BOTTLES ON THE MALTESE
A Sociological Perspective
This study seeks to verify from a sociological point of view the ecological effects on the Maltese surroundings of replacing the returnable glass bottle procedure with a system of disposable plastic bottles, giving particular attention to Ulrich Beck’s general thesis that we are moving towards a ‘risk society’ and Michael Cahill’s notion of ‘consumer society’ and the relationship that there exists between consumers and citizens. Through the data analysis, it was possible to examine whether these concepts can be applied to the Maltese Islands due to the introduction of this system of disposable plastic bottles which is a result of processes of industrialisation and modernisation. A comparison between the Maltese and European context will be explored to see whether the attitudes and values of the European and Maltese citizens towards the environment are the same of differ in certain situations.
Keywords o Environment o System of Disposable Plastic Bottles o Risk Society o Consumer Society
HOW WORKING PARENTS OR CARERS ACHIEVE WORK-LIFE BALANCE
This quantitative study explored how parents/carers residing in Zurrieq try to achieve a work-life balance, the difficulties they encounter while trying to accomplish this balance and factors which effect and hinder this
Sociology Dissertations balance. A survey was conducted with 150 working parents. Data was analyzed using Statistical Package for the
Social Science (SPSS). This study addressed changes in legislation, changes in workplace practices and the increase in childcare facilities. The main results of this study show that parents try to achieve a work-life balance with the help of relatives and less help from the state. Although men are giving a helping hand in housework and childcare, women still carry the major responsibility of unpaid work especially those who work part-time and/or self-employed. The most important recommendations derived from this study are that parents/carers wish that childcare centres are subsidized, that after school services start to operate to entice men to participate more in family life and that parental leave and career break become partially/fully paid.
Frances J. Spiteri
Keywords o Gender and Ideology o Housework o Paid Work o Work-life Balance o Part-time Work o Teleworking o Childcare o After School Services
ACCEPTANCE AND TOLERANCE OF DIVERSITY AMONST UNIVERSITY STUDENTS
The objective of this dissertation is to analyze the willingness of acceptance and tolerance in relation to foreigners specifically Europeans, Americans, Australians, Asians and Africans. This was achieved by researching University students through random quota sampling and applying their approach by faculty and gender. Several issues were considered in order to get a better picture of the students’ attitudes and perceptions and towards which foreigners are likely to be accepted most. The questionnaire helped to further understand their experience towards everyday factors that may lead to racism and make them more aware of what may have been the main triggering factors to their developing attitudes. Questions from Bogardus Scale, European Values
Survey and Malta Values Survey were modified so as to help verify whether University students are racists and if yes to what extent are they racist. The study explored and described factors about nationalism, race and racism, xenophobia and discrimination. An identification of studies of these issues conducted in Malta was included so as to give a holistic understanding of how diversity is established. Throughout the research, there seemed to be a tendency to accept certain issues over others and a dominance to accept certain nationalities over the others. in general females were more likely to tolerate foreigners than males. The tendency in faculties was to accept Europeans, Americans and Australians rather than Africans and Asians.
CHANGES IN VALUES RELATED TO SEXUALITY AMONG MALTESE UNIVERSITY STUDENTS
The aim of this dissertation was to identify Maltese University students’ attitudes towards sexuality. This will help to verify recent sociological studies that show that there has been a significant change in the Maltese mentality, a society that is moving towards individualism.
This study analyses the Maltese University students’ sexual behaviour in relation to the change in values caused by various aspects of modern reality, such as the increase in secularization, the increase in sexually transmitted diseases, influence of the mass media including the television and the internet and the increase in sex education.
This was achieved by researching University student’s values with a personally administered questionnaire, analyzed according to their faculty and gender.
Throughout the research, some respondents seemed to be in continuous conflict with their own values. In fact, a struggle seems to be taking place in students’ minds in accepting the traditional religious perspectives, which for the majority of the respondents are Roman Catholic. Traditional values, which heavily contrast modern perspectives that emphasis the reduction of sexual risks, unwanted pregnancies, and freedom of choice. As a result, although most of the Maltese University students are Roman Catholic, there is a contrast between the ideal and the actual practice. Respondents are likely to prefer modern secular lifestyles than restrictive teachings of the Church; this behaviour is exposed in respondents increase in sexual activities.
IN WHO’S BEST INTEREST?
Community, Conflict and Politics in Malta
“The Case of the Fort Cambridge Development Project”
This dissertation deals with the relationship between the political affiliation of the residents of Qui-Si-Sana in
Sliema, Malta and the Nationalist Party in Malta, with relation to the Fort Cambridge Development Project in
Qui-Si-Sana is a traditionally Nationalist leaning neighbourhood, and this study shows how the residents there objected to massive development projects in their neighbourhood which were supported by their party. It will show how they became effective “prisoners” of their political affiliation and that social, cultural and historical factors contribute to an inflexible unwillingness to entertain discourse of other political parties who may better support their interests. A strong sense of locality – which affects both residents’ interests and others’ perceptions of their interests also contributes to this. The Nationalist Party, though benefitting from the residents’ support, is affected by its own social, cultural, and historical background which contributes to an inflexibility when considering its supporters’ interests in deference to party interests.
This dissertation uses a historical based research methodology based on documentary research, documentation of residents’ experiences, and fieldwork. It uses an analytically based Conflict Theory approach focusing on the negative and positive functions of conflict in society coupled with Elite Theory to illustrate that the construction of political institutions are contributing factors to negative and positive conflict in society referring to the residents, the Nationalist party, and the development project.
ALCOHOL ABUSE AND DEVIANCE
An Explanatory Case Study of Maltese Alcohol Community and Residential Services Users
This research attempts to study the motivational patterns and consequences of alcohol consumption and its effects leading to deviant behaviour. Adopting a quantitative approach, data for this research was collected by means of questionnaires. Consequently, questionnaires were administered within Sedqa premises in Floriana and at “Dar Zerniq” in Luqa. Alcohol rehabilitation programmes are carried out within same premises. Results of the data analysed reveal that the respondents are aware of the effects brought by excessive alcohol consumption and how this substance leads to deviant behaviour. The minority of alcoholics conform within society. Moreover, the majority of this studied are innovative and behave according to ritualism. This study may be useful in making one more cautious about alcohol consumption and its effects on one’s body and behaviour. An expansive study is needed for social actors, especially relatively young adults, to become aware of the risks and the harmful effects that excessive use of alcohol brings about.
Keywords o Alcohol Consumption o Alcohol Abuse
Sociology Dissertations o Deviance o Rehabilitation
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE PERCEPTION AMONGST POST-SECONDARY STUDENTS
Literature shows that domestic violence is a delicate issue on the struggle between power and control. Studies from Western Countries have only recently started, shedding light on the consequences that it has left on the victims.
The aim of this dissertation is to explore the effects of domestic violence on youths coming from violent homes on their relationships with others. this study also examines the main causes that lead to violence and abuses that post-secondary students may encounter or be subjected to.
Throughout this dissertation one of the main issues is whether men and women experience domestic violence in the same way. Similarities and differences can be found, for instance, females frequently report psychological violence with the most influential factors being: possessiveness and jealousy. Irrelevant of a person’s sex domestic violence is experienced by many people. Not at fault for the violence, a victim may feel bewildered, confused and even ashamed to tell someone about it with the frustration of not being believed.
Important differences are being neglected on the assumption that domestic abuse experienced by woman victims can be applied in the same way to male victim. Both men and women have the same right i.e. the right to be safe in their own home, thus all statutory services have a duty to both sexes and not be gender specific.
Support and programs play a key role towards bringing about the desired change, when reaching out to youths from a very young age namely when they are still at school. Programmes that invite young people aim to help them while they are still young with the intention that healthy and non-violent relationships are built in the future. However several cultural norms and beliefs must be tackled first in order to intervene with the severe cycle of violence.
Keywords o Domestic Violence o Post-Secondary Schools o Maltese Young Adults
SECULARISATION AMONG MALTESE UNIVERSITY STUDENTS
The main aim of this dissertation was to gain an understanding of the religiosity of University students according to their Faculty, gender, secondary education background as well as their year of studies. This research was carried out by means of qualitative techniques among first and final year students from three
Faculties – Medicine, Law and Engineering. The results suggested that there was an increase in secularisation from the first-year student group to the final-year student group suggesting that the university environment may play a role in accelerating secularisation. Results obtained from the students in the three Faculties involved in the research suggest that the level of secularisation of medical and law students is similar. The engineering students were found to have a higher level of secularisation. The study also concluded that there is a large degree of secularisation in University students with a State Secondary School education background than those with a Church Secondary School education background. This suggests that a Church Secondary School education may play a significant role in protecting against secularisation with the opposite happening as a result of a State
Secondary School education. It was difficult to assess the levels of secularisation according to gender. However, the study suggests that when compared to their male counterparts, females tend to be more in favour of divorce and tolerant of abortion but pray more regularly and are closer to the Sacraments.
Maria Saliba Thorne
RELIGIOUS ORGANISATIONS AND COMMUNITY WELFARE:
The Role of The Good Shepherd Centre in Taë-êawla, Gozo
This dissertation uses the Good Shepherd community centre in Taë-êawla Gozo to find out how effective voluntary participation in a religious organisation can be in bringing about community cohesion. This was achieved using qualitative, case study method whereby data was collected through means of secondary sources and in-depth interviews with community members and volunteers working in this community and state agencies such as representative of FES, local council and social worker and head teachers and guidance teachers.
The main conclusion that came out of these interviews was that in the past, this Community Centre had contributed positively in the promotion and integration of marginalised groups within the community. However it seems that past achievements attained by the Good Shepherd Centre, have decreased for several reasons, resulting in the further alienation of already socially excluded social groups.
URBAN REINTEGRATION FOR WHOM?
A sociological comparison between the Birgu Waterfront and the Isla Waterfront
All towns and cities display a particular blend of problems and potentials. Urban regeneration is a widely experience made in local developments and areas however it is a little understood phenomenon. It is a process attributed few years ago which analyzes the changes made in an area. The main task of urban regeneration is to seek the resolution of urban problems and to bring about change in a condition of an area that has been subject to change.
Using qualitative methods in order to analyze this study, urban regeneration is a process in which apart from looking at the physical impact it can bring to an area, it also focuses on the social impact it can bring. Such social impacts may include employment, economic success, environmental conditions and so forth. The case study attributed in this thesis discusses the social impacts urban regeneration have made to the area and to the local communities.
Urban Regeneration can bring constant challenge and is seen as an important element of regional and national success.
THE PERCEPTIONS AND ATTITUDES TOWARDS LANGUAGE TOURISM:
A Case Study of St. Julian’s
This research studies the perceptions and attitudes of show owners and residents living or working in St.
Julian’s, towards language tourism, a fast growing sector in Malta. Studying the perceptions and attitudes of residents is vital for tourism as the industry is highly dependent on the hospitality and support of host populations. Regular analysis of the community’s attitudes towards tourism is also necessary to ensure the sustainability of tourism development. A qualitative research approach was adopted for this study as qualitative research methods allow researchers to get a better understanding of the reasons and meanings behind residents’ perceptions and attitudes. A total of 15 informants were interviewed through either telephone or face to face semi – structured interviews. Form this research it can be concluded that despite the negative impacts that are normally associated with language tourism, mostly vandalism and high alcohol consumption, the majority of the respondents were generally supportive of language tourism and its further development. In fact most of the interviewees expressed a high degree of positivity towards language tourism.
EUROPEANISATION AND THE IDEOLOGY OF PENSION REFORMS IN MALTA
This dissertation is about the European Social model and it investigates whether the European Union led to the reform on the pension system within its member states, with particular emphasis to Malta since, as from 1 st
May 2004, the then Prime Minister of Malta Dr. Eddie Fenech Adami, officially signed for the Maltese accession in the European Union. EU policies in this regard were implemented in order to guarantee the sustainability of the social security and thus not having the erosion of the European Social Model that distinguishes it from the
USA. Through its welfare regimes Europe provides social security to its citizens to ensure an adequate income especially in their later period of life; for example, after the retirement from paid employment
FEMALE POLITICIANS IN THE MALTESE PARLIAMENT
It is usually accepted that a fair representation of females in Parliament is required not just in Malta, but also in many other countries worldwide, in order to more accurately reflect the composition of society and to guarantee that women’s diverse interests are taken into account. However in spite of this, the paucity of female representation in the Maltese Parliament is still striking.
The purpose of this study is to ascertain why the participation of female politicians in the Maltese Parliament is much less than their male counterparts. In fact, this study, probed into the obstacles that hinder women from being part of the most major institution above all, the political system.
The literature review is divided into 2 parts. The first part consists of the major sociological approaches and their dominant theories which put forward what brings about gender differences which then result in differences in society. The second part consists of a historical account of the major women struggles worldwide which led to a change in the role of women today.
Qualitative research methodology was utilised in this study. The qualitative research data consisted of six, indepth interviews carried out with different MPs from both Political Parties: the Nationalist Party in government and the Malta Labour Party in opposition. In addition, questionnaires were sent by e-mail to Participants who could not meet for a face-to-face interview.
Finally, the last part of this study includes an examination of the interviews with both the viewpoints of male and female politicians. This analysis revealed different factors which are leading to an immense absence of female representation in the Maltese Parliament.
Keywords o Women o Participation o Representation o Parliament o Gender Balance o Decision-Making o Democracy o Elections o Candidates o Support o Barriers/Obstacles o Quotas o Political Parties o Politics
EXPERIENCING THE ‘VIBE’:
Clubculture in Contemporary Malta
This dissertation is about the clubculture in Contemporary Malta. It focuses on the experience of ‘clubbing’ or rather the ‘aesthetic experience’ which takes place on a physically, emotional and cognitive level. The ‘vibe’ which is ultimately a social phenomenon that binds people together, is a central part of this experience. It is the stimulation that determines the existence, non existence or maintenance of such a culture. Such a ‘vibe’ is created through the stimulation of music, lights, the DJ and drugs and is embodied by the individual and the collective, who together celebrate pleasure and sensuality through dance. By bringing to life the experiences I encountered in my participant observations and some of the clubbers themselves, I aim to uncover what makes this culture so seductive.
Vanessa C. Demanuele
Keywords o Post Subcultures
Sociology Dissertations o Aesthetic Experience o ‘Vibe’ o Dance Music o Clubbing
GAMBLING IN MALTA
A Sociological Perspective
This dissertation deals with the gambling situation in Malta; ranging from the positive aspects of gambling represented by the i-gaming companies’ contribution towards creating jobs and generating great monetary value; and most importantly this dissertation deals with the negative aspect of gambling which is represented by the excessive gambler.
This study will hopefully stir action to be taken against excessive gambling by encouraging the authorities to help rehabilitate the gambler in the first place, and then regulate policies if the need arise. Besides, this study aims to show that gambling is not all wrong, but because i-gaming companies are contributing towards a better state economy.
The research methodology used in this dissertation is a qualitative one; composed of a combination of participant observation and semi-structured interviews. This dissertation takes a sociological twist when the facts gathered during fieldwork will be analyzed with sociological facts and theories gathered through literature.
Artificial Contraceptives in a Catholic Society: Perceptions of Maltese University Students
The dissertation analyses artificial contraceptive uses and sexual attitudes in relation to Catholicism. This was achieved by researching University student’s values and comparing them by faculty and gender. Various issues were taken into consideration in order to get a better picture of the student’s mentality in relation to their religious values and attitudes towards sexuality and artificial contraceptive uses. Throughout the research, there seemed to be a continuous value conflict, both amongst different respondents and within the same respondent. In fact a struggle seems to be taking place in student’s minds in accepting the traditional Catholic values, which for the majority of respondents still held, and new approaches and viewpoints emphasising the reduction of STI and
Sociology Dissertations unwanted pregnancies, as well as freedom of choice. Moreover this conflict was not only seen on the individual level but also on the institutional level, where we find a clash of viewpoints being transmitted from different and even the same institution, some emphasising conservative values, while others liberal values.
THE IMPACT OF RESIDENCE ON ATTITUDES.
A Study of Attitudes of Gozitans Residing in Malta
The Island Gozo 65metres squared, 28, 000 inhabitants, is the second largest island of the Maltese archipelago;
Malta 125metres squared and 340,000 inhabitants has always been regarded as the second home for the
Gozitans. However, in this dissertation I will go in depth and study the attitudes of the Gozitans who have transferred themselves and thus live permanently in Malta. The primary aim of this dissertation is to study whether the Gozitans, having crossed over to Malta have changed their attitudes. In order to do so, two samples, one from Gozo and another from the Gozitans residing in Malta will be taken and correlated. Using semistructured telephone interviews administered to 50 Gozitan respondents residing in Malta and semi-structured hand delivered questionnaires to 50 Gozitans residing in Gozo will help me to investigate the hypothesis that the
Gozitans residing in Malta have changed their attitudes to be congruent with the Maltese.
THE EFFECTS OF SEPARATION ON SPOUSES
This dissertation focuses on some of the problems spouses encounter after separation. For the purpose of this research twenty service providers (lawyers, family therapists, counsellors, social workers, a mediator and a psychiatrist) were chosen by purposive sampling and ten separated spouses were chosen by snowball sampling.
The twenty service providers helped me acquire insight into the main problems separated spouses go through in
Malta and Gozo while the ten separated spouses recounted their own particular experiences.
The main problems that the separated spouses in this sample faced regarded child custody, property, maintenance and finance. Apart from these, the separated spouses also encountered problems regarding their possessions and status. Feelings also played an important part. Several suffered emotionally through and after separation. However, for other separation was a relief – the termination of some of the problems they had to face during marriage.
EXPRESSING THE SELF
A Study on Youth’s Consumption of Fashion
This research is a sociological enquiry into the relationship that exists between fashion and consumption among young people in Malta. It mainly examines young people’s experiences of being fashionable and how this is manifested through their consumption patterns. Furthermore, the study goes onto the role that external sources of influence, namely the media and peers, play in young people’s identified consumption patterns. In this research one also sees how young people relate with their parents on the basis of various issues in the spheres of fashion and consumption. The matter of having branded products is another important concern in this dissertation. This is another issue which shows the close relationship that exists between fashion and consumption. Moreover, the research explores the link that exists between consumption of fashion and the expression of young people’s self-identity which in the period of youth, which is a period of reshaping values, is being constructed. The study also investigates whether one’s consumption of fashionable dress style leads to the consumption of particular leisure activities and music, which are also constitutive of the sphere of fashion. These objectives are examined in the light of the research hypothesis which states that young people perceive their modes of onsumption to be influenced by fashion trends through which they construct their identities. This is reflected in the particular dress codes, musical tastes and lifestyles of a group of young people who frequent the
‘White Arrow’ bar in Malta. The findings of this study show that when it comes to clothing, basically all respondents follow fashion trends. cHowever, when it comes to music tastes, fashion trends are not rigidly followed by young people, but their preferred music is still related to their identity. From the findings one can thus conclude that the expression of one’s self-identity is not always related to fashion.
Keywords o Fashion o Consumption o Youth
MISBEHAVIOUR IN GIRLS’ SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN GOZO:
Genesis and Management
The purpose of this study was to find the most ‘popular’ misconduct among female teenagers in Gozo and what is being done to diminish it. This theme was selected because of its fundamental importance to any form of
Sociology Dissertations schooling. The first chapter is an introduction to this dissertation while the second chapter provides an examination of literature related to reasons why students misbehave, how teachers deal with misbehaviour and types of misbehaviour. In this study, questionnaires, observations and interviews were used for the gathering of data. The questionnaires were distributed to Form 1 and Form 5 teachers. Following this, the researcher spent around thirty-five hours observation in Form 1 and Form 5 classes. Finally, the researcher interviewed the disciplinary board in school A and the Form Teacher of Form 1 and Form 5 in school B. Thus, the researcher did a triangulation study for the sake of accuracy. The findings of this study show that chatting with peers is the most frequent type of misbehaviour and the most irritating for teachers. In cases of misbehaviour, teachers indicated that they refer giving rules or reason it out with students than to punish them. Moreover, this study shows that visits by social workers and child psychologists should be frequent to help students with problems of misbehaviour.
A SOCIOLOGIVAL STUDY OF THE PERCEPTION OF MENTAL ILLNESS IN MALTA, WITH SPECIAL
REFERENCE TO DEPRESSION
Mental health and illness has always been considered as a taboo topic. People rarely speak about it because there seems to be a lot of stigma and fear attached to it. The purpose of this dissertation is to discover people’s real perceptions of mental illnesses in general and specifically depression. It tries to discover whether the rumours, that the Maltese society has a negative perception of mental illness, are true or if they are an unreal generalisation.
The literature review discusses a variety of themes in connection with the issue at hand, mainly considering mental health and illness as a social issue. The information gathered from the one hundred and fifty telephone questionnaires and the interviews with formerly depressed persons and professionals in this field is done on the basis of the theories discussed in the literature review.
The study is divided in two parts. The first part consists of semi-structured interviews with professionals in the field and formerly depressed persons. The second part consists of telephone questionnaires that investigate people’s perception of mental illness and their attitudes towards those mentally ill persons.
The major limitation of this dissertation is that since the issue at hand is regarded as a taboo, people might
Sociology Dissertations refrain from speaking openly about the subject. its major aim on the other hand is to paint a clear picture about what people really feel about mental health and illness, as till today we are mainly stuck with speculations.
Ann Julene Spiteri
THE LOCAL AND GLOBAL INTERFACE OF TATTOOING IN MALTA
A Qualitative Study
The main task of this dissertation is to capture the dynamics of the local tattoo industry, by mainly locating the involvement of tattoo artists in the global tattoo network and secondary by locating the tattooed body within the local context. As envisaged by Featherstone (2005) today you have a category of people who are design specialists or cultural entrepreneurs. Being part of a ‘third culture’, these design specialists attend to the cultural flows from one border to another. Tattoo artists as cultural entrepreneurs do claim that they have the necessary knowledge and skills, which most probably lay people do not have, to represent and pack the exotica to wider audiences. As a matter of fact, by the 1980s and 90s, in the tattoo industry there has been an unprecedented rise in the demand for tribal tattooing. People started getting tribal tattoos on their bodies. This necessitates a critical sociological reading. In my thesis, the request for tribal tattooing merges to a strong need posed by individuals to search for meaning in a widest sense. While tribal tattooing started by the earliest encounters by
European seamen in places like Samoa and Polynesia, today one can simply go to a local tattoo studio and get this ethnic tattoo done on his or her body. So the question that rises in mu research is that which have to do with the authenticity of tattoos. As with any other type of cultural symbols, tattoos are meaningful symbols since they are embodied. They are inalienably done on bodies which are organized and experienced within a local. The tattooed body in my dissertation has nothing to do with any consumerist appropriation. But, people are getting tattooed in attempt to construct a self-identity. The personal nature of tattoos on bodies in this research is seized by focusing on the personal narratives disclosed by my informants. Authenticity is no longer a question of place but it is manifested in people’s involvement in this type of body project. An authentic tattoo design is captured by the sense of identity it bestows on the individual. The body therefore is a significant social field or what Csordas
(1994b) hold to be the ground for self and culture. The flow of tattoo insignia made possible by magazines
(mediascape) and contemporary exchanges in International Tattoo Conventions (ethnoscape) are domesticated on the local body that is ultimately contextualized.
Clint Paul Vella
WOMEN AND VEHICLES
A Sociological Analysis
In the last few years there has been much discourse on gender and gender equality. In Malta, much has been done to mainstream gender issues into policies and laws. Acts have been implemented so that we become in line with our European counterparts, however certain issues which discriminate against certain individuals are still not regulated by law. It is a fact that certain discriminatory behaviour is brought about by traditional gender stereotypes, which are ingrained in our culture and mentality. These discriminatory attitudes and stereotypical approaches have deep social implications, and this study tries to link these in relation to transport issues women face in their daily commuting patterns.
Thirty professional women participated in a semi-structured interview, fifteen of which had caring responsibilities and the rest had no caring responsibilities. Quota sampling was used to gather the sample. A director of an insurance company was interviewed to find out about transport general trends in Malta.
Secondary data gathered from local statistical organisations were analysed and discussed.
It was found that although the trend is changing, women still suffer from discriminatory attitudes n the road. In addition, they are still the ones that mostly use the private vehicle for personal and domestic responsibilities apart from work. Although the women interviewed were all professionals, still the way of thinking is that
Maltese mentality and culture keeps the woman driver from pursuing her interests. She has been described as
“ignorant”, “gullible”, and “less adventurous”. These words were how women drivers described themselves.
CHANGING SOCIAL IDENTITY
The Introduction of Local Governance
When in 1993 the Central Government of Malta decided to set up the local councils, it had to devolve some of its powers and responsibilities to the local councils. Due to this devolution of power, the local councils started to be considered as the representative of the local people with the Central Government. In fact, the local councils are considered by a lot of people as Local Governments. Thus, while the Central Government has the power to govern Malta as a whole, the local councils have the power to govern their particular locality.
In a context of social change, local identity is of crucial importance. Thus, the local councils are more able to emphasise local identity since they are working from the core of the locality. Since, social change is a continuous process; people throughout the world might find social change as a threat to their local identity. In fact, due to
Sociology Dissertations social change people are now more than ever trying to emphasise their membership in a particular community and reaffirm their boundaries. In spite of social change, local identity is still of crucial importance and it will continue to play an important part in people’s lives. In fact, nowadays there are certain local councils which are trying as much as possible to enhance local identity in spite of all the social changes.
A STUDY OF EX-DRUG USERS’S SOCIAL IDENTITY RECONSTRUCTION
Drug use is a contemporary and expanding social problem. The vast majority of the Maltese population is familiar with several illicit drugs at least by name. This is a result of the vast coverage that the media gives to drug use. Also, the Maltese population does not put licit drugs, namely, alcohol and tobacco at the same level of illicit drugs. Illicit drugs are perceived of much more negatively. Moreover, drug users are often accredited various crimes, particularly petty theft. However, interestingly, drug addicts are more often perceived of as patients rather than as criminals (Malta Drug Situation 2004).
This study seeks to give a detailed image of the social identity reconstruction of ex-drug users. This research attempts to understand the life experiences of twenty two ex-drug users who are now seeking to integrate themselves in society. This research presents a picture of different aspects of life in society, which include family life, social relations, participation in the labour force, involvement in criminality and analyse how all these factors contribute to the individual’s social identity and to their integration in society. (National Commission on the Abuse of Drugs, Alcohol and Other Dependencies 2004).
Keywords o Deviance o Drug Use o Labelling o Social Identity
HIGHWAY TO HELL OR STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN?
Heavy Metal: A Sociological Analysis of the Relationship Between the Maltese Heavy Metal Community to
Different Religious Ideologies & Attitudes
This study analyses the dynamic of the Maltese heavy metal subculture and examines the values held by the individuals who constitute this subculture. It investigates the identity formation of individuals within the heavy
Sociology Dissertations metal subculture and provides a critique of postmodern notions of subcultural formation. The religious and ideological aspect of the subculture is revealed, and the shift from a more traditional, symbol-based identity to a modern ideology-based heavy metal identity is noted in certain sub-genres.
It is argued that the heavy metal identity is essentially an anti-christian identity that stems from a belied in a cultural alternative to what is perceived to be the dominant hegemony within society. Therefore, the heavy metal movement may be seen as having the potential to lead to a form of new religious movement that propagates its beliefs with which it combats this cultural dominance.
LEISURE AND WORK. DIFFERENT OR LINKED?
A Qualitative-Quantitative Leisure Analysis on B.A. Students
As the title suggests the objective of this study is to find out if there is a relationship between work and leisure.
This project focuses on how students from the Faculty of Arts define leisure, how they utilise their leisure time, and with what objective. A theoretical background on leisure was provided. Another chapter analysed the different leisure activities pursued in the Maltese context.
To achieve this, qualitative and quantitative methodology was used. The main methods employed in this research were the diary-surveys and in-depth interviews. The diary-surveys were used to gather some statistical data with the help of the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) and then the interviews were used to study the reasons behind the pursuit of certain leisure activities. Two methods were used to grasp a better picture of the leisure activities of B.A students.
THE INTERDICT OF THE SIXTIES
A Sociological Perspective
The politico-religious conflict which took place during the sixties in the Maltese Islands between Mintoff and the
Bishop of Malta (Bishop M. Gonzi), and his successor the Bishop of Gozo (Mgr. Pace), has haf repercussions that can be still felt today, such as secularisation and also stigma. Although, back in the late sixties, or rather in
1969, the interdiction was lifted, one can still feel a sense of antagonism between the two parts, in particular by
Sociology Dissertations the Malta Labour party militants who were either interdicted or excommunicated from the religious community.
In view of the fact that there are many issues that, until this day, have not yet been settled, many people are reluctant to openly discuss what had actually brought about the many disagreements between the Bishops and
Mintoff. Furthermore, although this issue has been looked into a number of times, namely by politicians on television programmes, etc., it has rarely been looked into from a sociological point of view.
The literature in chapter two looks into several sociological themes and theories that are relevant to this political conflict that had erupted between the socialists and the clergy. The information gathered namely from newspaper articles, books, amongst others, and that gathered from interviews carried out with Malta Labour party executives and militants as well as the clergy, will be applied to the literature in chapter two as a means through which the politico-religious dispute can be examined from a sociological perspective.
EDUCATION AND EMPLOYMENT
Aspirations of Female Secondary Students in Gozo
In this dissertation I shall analyse whether Gozitan girls who attend Area Secondary Schools are interested in continuing with their education or not after finishing Secondary schooling. Do they want to find a job or do they want to continue studying? Or do they want to stay at home without participating in the labour market? In this regard qualitative methodology shall be used and I intend to pick several students from a Gozitan Area-
Secondary school and carry out in-depth interviews with them since I want to find out the reasons of their choice.
A qualitative research method was chosen because it demonstrates the variety of perspectives of the students and the related social meanings.
The hypothesis of this dissertation is that Gozitan female students in secondary schools prefer to go to work rather than to continue studying. Through this research I will be able to verify if this statement is true or not.
MIGRATORY NETWORKS AND FLOWS
A Case Study of Legal Male Nigerian Migrants in Malta
This study analyses the holistic migration process from the perspective of migrants, exploring various dynamic and intricate aspects of international movement. The results are based on a case study conducted among legal male Nigerian migrants in Malta. Using snowball sampling, semi-structured interviews were conducted to explore the entirety of the migrant’s experience. Through a qualitative approach therefore, the study examines the initiation of migration, its perpetuation and the process of migrant incorporation in a host country. It provides a thorough examination of fundamental concepts such as network connections, chain migration, migratory flows, transnational spaces, transnationalism, transnational-activities, integration and Diaspora.
These issues are scrutinized in the framework of global international movement, where migration does not always follow a rigid bipolar model where individuals migrate solely from one native country to one host country.
Therefore, the study highlighted the fact that apart from being a global phenomenon, international migration is also a complex and multi-faceted issue.
The study found Nigerians in Malta to have global network connections that act as a pebbling force inducing prospective Nigerian migrants to migrate. Global kinship and friendship ties therefore facilitate and encourage subsequent Nigerian migration to Malta. Apart from network connections, career success and income- maximization were found to be the major motives leading to migration. Moreover, the study found that the majority if the Nigerian migrants in Malta engage themselves in a transnational-activity mainly through the remitting of money back home this was not the case for those who come from wealthy family. in spite of this it was found that they still remit objects back home, the purpose being to solidify transnational kinship relations rather than economic in nature.
WIVES WORKING INFORMALLY IN HUSBANDS’ BUSINESS
There seems to be the idea that working for one’s spouse is not really work, but natural thing, to help one’s family. However, due to the increase in separations women should be warned of the long term ramifications of working informally for their husbands.
This study will enquire into how a small number of female participants view their contribution to the family business. The main objective is to observe how they analyse their in put into the family business, what benefits they get out of their contribution and also how aware are they of the long-term ramifications of working in the twilight economy.
This study adopts a qualitative approach with the use of semi-structured interviews conducted with ten wives who work informally in their husband’s businesses. Other interviews were also held with Ms. Anna Borg, the
Senior Executive of the Gender Equality Unit of Employment and Training Corporations and Sir Mark Musu.
The latter is a former employee of the Department of Social Security, however now he is the Director EU and
International Affairs in the Ministry for the Family and Social Solidarity. Also an informal interview was held with Dr. Charmaine Grech, B.A. LL.D Research Officer.
During the analysis of the data, issues like husbands’ wanting their wives to work with them. Lack of wives’ education, which eventually leads to participation to secondary labour market; the fact that such work provided them with flexibility to continue their caring responsibilities which according to ideologies like the Catholic
Church are essential. The fact that policies do not encourage payment to family members and lack of public awareness, regarding the disadvantages of working in the informal economy arose. Also such issues lead to the contribution to women’s participation in the informal economy, which might eventually lead to a greater chance of poverty.
US AND THEM
An Analysis of Forces Influencing Illicit Chemical Use
Up to this day since years ago, various theorists have formulated their ideas and insights and stressed them in books to reveal their verdict on what ultimately causes the human animal to act in the way he does in different contexts and different circumstances. In this qualitative research these are narrowed down to the drug using behaviour of an individual, his actions in relation to his use of drugs and what the forces which create the tension for such behaviour to take place are. The study will consequently look into a number of theories by diverse scholars and hence confront them with the gathered data in this research and thereby compare and contrast the particular field. The main methods employed in this research were face-to-face interviews. The 7 individuals chosen for this study meet three basic criteria. All individuals are males between the ages of 19 and
33 and could be basically defined as habitual users of illicit drugs.
EDUCATIONAL ACHIEVEMENT IS RELATED TO ONE’S SOCIAL CLASS
Through education one can climb up the ladder of status. Anyone can take part in this system. but on the other hand, does everyone have the same chance of succeeding? For some reason or another not everyone is able to take in what the educational system has to offer. This study is a sociological inquiry where the researcher attempts to uncover a correlation between the concept of social class and educational achievement. Highlighting the reasons why some groups of people are educationally successful while others are not.
The analysis indicates that the majority of students that come from a lower class are in fact less likely to achieve academically. It might seem like a sweeping statement, however, on the same lines, students from middle/upper classes have fewer obstacles to overcome which in turn enables them to do well at school.
SEGREGATION OF THE FEMALE ELDERLY POPULATION IN GOZO
Myth or Reality?
In this dissertation, the main issues will be focussing on the female elderly population in Gozo. The choice of this subject came to mind from the assumption that today’s ever fast changing world has less time for its elderly.
Especially females that still tend to be more disadvantaged than males for many reasons still in the 21 st
Also due to the fact that statistics show that females today are living longer than males. The data for this dissertation as obtained through interviews.
It is argued that elderly females in Gozo have very little choice of places to meet or activities organised for them.
For this reason in the Interviews the elderly were asked in which activities they take part within their village.
Also, they were asked how and with whom they had closest relations with and also if they felt that they would be better off in a Home for the elderly. These were asked in order to determine if they felt segregated or not enough to leave their own home to enter an Institutional Home for the elderly.
The study concludes with the modification of the hypothesis. That is, the elderly females were found not to be segregated in certain respects. When it comes to relations with neighbours and relatives such as spouse and children, they were found to be segregated however, within the community, elderly females interviewed were found to be segregated as they themselves felt left out of the community.
Alicia Anna Fava
WIDOWERS AS SINGLE FATHERS:
Social and Practical Aspects
Widespread stereotypes hold that most men have neither the talent nor the inclination to perform the fathering role. In fact some feminists hold that men are impaired in their parental commitment due to the absence of early identification experiences with their own fathers. However other sociological models insist that single fathers, as is demonstrated by widowers, can become proficient parents when the situation demands it of them, in spite of being poorly socialized for parenthood.
The study intends to show that while continuing to fill the traditional family role of provider, widowers also fulfil the role of nurturers for their children. They socialize their children and are totally responsible for their custody and care. In fact the research findings demonstrate that widowers start valuing their family’s wellbeing to a greater extent than during marriage. Widowers take on multiple roles, and give up their own personal satisfaction and fulfilment, in order to provide their children with the best childhood possible.
The New Phenomenon of the Maltese House-Husbands
In a context of social change, different family structures and realities emerge. Socio-economic changes have set priority the need of women to work in the labour market therefore the role of males as fathers and husbands started to get more discourse. This study is a sociological inquiry examining the new roles of men as care givers and house bearers. These men show an alternative to the traditional Maltese family where this new family structure, the reversal-role family, inverts the traditional parental roles, where husbands-fathers are the housebounds and wives-mothers are the breadwinners.
The analysis indicates that the Maltese society is still not accepting the inversion of parental roles, as Malta still persists with a sexist culture. Although men are assigning more time to housekeeping and also to childrearing, it still seems that the family stress the female role as being more suitable and committed to manage the home and the nurturing role.
The Study of Their Socio-Economic Status
There seems to be a sociological trend which promotes the idea of the embourgeoisement of Maltese society, but at the same time we are seeing an increase in part-time and contract work both in the manual and non-manual sectors. This study includes use of semi-structured interviews conducted with twenty cleaning attendants within a prestigious institution. This was accompanied by the analysis of secondary data in order to find out how state institutions locate these workers within the class structure.
Women’s lifestyles are analysed including the effects of their working conditions and attitudes, and whether a feeling of empowerment and equality with male counterparts is being reached. It was found that cleaning attendants were employed in the service sector, falling under fixed contractual patterns. This was mainly due to the fact that apart from performing expressive roles which are still significantly carried out by women, they are now immersed in the instrumental role as well.
This in turn demonstrates that since these cleaning attendants involve themselves in the world of work, they occupy a class position. Therefore the material assets, education and the job one does give rise to a general apprehension of social differences.
Keywords o Social Class o Embourgeoisement o Labour Market o Social Inequality o Expressive and Instrumental Roles
NOT FOR GIRLS
A Case study of women’s football in Malta
Gender inequity has always been a main issue in human history. It puts women at a disadvantage and gives men priorities in turn. Men felt superior to women and they asserted their power on them to retain their position in society, which resulted in inequality.
Football is a clear example of primitive gender inequality, where men are treated better than women. In the
Sociology Dissertations women’s sector female players are neglected and not given dedicated attention as men are. Football is still a male oriented sport; the general stance is that football is not for girls and females should keep to their gender logic. Local people are unaware of the fact that every season a women’s football league is organised.
My study was conducted in a qualitative technique, that is, data were collected through in-depth interviews. The majority of the informants were players from different teams taking part in the league, and some others were coaches and referees of the women’s sector.
I have included a historical background of gender inequality in sports, which was verified as being still relevant in the present day, by the players interviewed. Male dominance is still central in this field and sectors like the media is still reinforcing this issue. The general outlook is still labelling women footballers as tomboys or lesbians.
The aim of my study has not been solely to complete my degree course at university, but more importantly, I hope that it serves as a means of insight into the field, so that further improvement in the women’s football league is made.
Melanie Micallef Carr
Keywords o Gender Inequity o Football o Players o Discrimination
A Sociological Analysis of the Maltese Punk Community
This study analyses the dynamics of the Maltese punk subculture and examines the values held by the individuals who constitute this subculture. It investigates the identity formation of individuals within the punk subculture and provides a critique of postmodern notions of subcultural formation. The political and ideological aspect of the subculture is revealed, and the shift from a more traditional. Symbol-based identity to a modern ideology-based punk identity is noted. This is examined in the context of the consumption of traditional punk iconography.
It is argued that the punk identity is essentially a political identity that stems from a belief in a cultural alternative to what is perceived to be the dominant hegemony within society. Therefore, the punk movement may be seen as having the potential to lead to a form of new social movement that combats this cultural
Sociology Dissertations dominance.
A New Medium For Establishing New Forms of Social Relationships or an Instrument For Individual Isolation?
The use of computers is increasing at an accelerating rate, especially among young people. What fundamentally sets children apart from adults here is the fact that these are the generations growing up with this medium.
Children of ages nine and twelve were selected from a small number of government, private and church schools and semi-structured interviews were conducted to look into the activities children carry out on the computer and online, the time spent on computers and their implications for children’s social relationships. It gives particular importance to the use of computer for school work, chat and game-playing. Secondly, it asks questions regarding what lead children to use computers in certain ways and whether computer use is hindering the maintenance and formation of social relationships at a time were social contact is imperative to the socialisation process. A number of parents are also involved in the study so as to obtain a more holistic picture.
The results of the study show that children use the knowledge they obtain from their existing, ‘off-line’ social relationships and carry it to the way they make use of computers. This research also shows that there are several social aspects to the activities children carry out on the computer. Although attempts are made to meet other people online, these relationships are, however, weak and short lived.
Rachel Ferriggi Waldron
Keywords o Children o Computers o Social Relationships o Social Aspects o Socialisation
A Study on the Promotion of the Ideal and the Social Construction of Consumption Behind Maltese Teleshopping
Being compared to an agora, teleshopping programmes are a new means of promoting and selling products through the television. This study establishes that the Maltese teleshopping audience incorporates more than
Sociology Dissertations half of the whole population. Less than half of these buy frequently through this means.
This study seeks to understand how the teleshopping programmes portray the products they promote. Unlike advertisements, the majority of the teleshopping programmes focus on the functional values of the product promoted, rather than emphasising the added values. Through stressing the functional values of each product, this dissertation shows that teleshopping programmes are creating new needs, which can be satisfied in real time. Thus, teleshopping programmes are also constructing consumption.
This research concludes that the audience behind Maltese teleshopping programmes is active. It is also noticed that consumption through these programmes takes place on rational grounds, since the majority buy only what they consider as a need.
Keywords o Audience Reception o Consumption o Functional Values o Needs o Teleshopping
RELATIONSHIPS AND PERSONS WITH INTELLECTUAL DISABILITY
An Overview of the Situation in Malta
The Maltese Government presents itself as an equal opportunities state. In February 2000, Malta passed its first
Equal Opportunities (Persons with Disability) Act, thirteen years after the establishment of the National commission for the handicapped, now the National Commission Persons with Disability (NCPD) (Camilleri and
Callus, 2001). The study asks whether these claims to disability equality can be sustained, in the context of more traditional features of Malta’s society and social policy, in particular the medical model of disability that underpins much of the social, interactional and marriage opportunities. It examines the past relationships, present relationships, future plans and knowledge about sexuality.
It adopts a qualitative approach with semi structured interviews and uses data from twelve persons with intellectual disability attending the resource centres in Malta as well as an interview with one of the Heads of these resource centres. Reference was also made to already existing literature on the issue of disability and relationships. While persons with disabilities have achieved some progress in terms of rights, there persists a gulf between government’s proclaimed equal opportunities objectives and the lived realities of these persons with intellectual disabilities.
The research suggests that persons with intellectual disability are not provided with adequate sex education. It is also evident that the majority of these individuals are overprotected by their respective families. The strong pressure to traditional roles is embedded in Maltese cultural and social norms, but also in the state’s own social policies. It is the responsibility of any society to ensure the well being of the persons with intellectual disability.
SELF-ADVOCACY IN MALTA
Person With Intellectual Disabilities Speak Up For Themselves and Voice Out Their Issues
Some people have never been informed that they have the same rights to make choices as everyone else. Some cannot read or write because people thought they couldn’t, so they didn’t bother to teach them. this goes especially for persons with intellectual disability who are generally more devalued than those who have a physical or sensory impairments because of the difficulties they face in learning new skills and because of the gaps in their cognitive development. This does not only dehumanise persons with disability but also it dehumanises society. in fact society has allowed significant social and physical barriers that still prevent the mentally disabled from integrating and participating fully in the larger society. The goal of self-advocacy movement is to enable people with developmental disabilities to be part of the community by learning to advocate for themselves by strengthening their individual capabilities and maximizing their self-advocacy skills.
The aim of the study is to digest the impact of self-advocate movements upon persons with intellectual disabilities in Malta. This study examines whether self-advocacy presents opportunities for the persons with disability to know their own rights and responsibilities, stand up for them and be independent decision makers.
By doing these things, the quality of life for people with disabilities is vastly improved. Fourty members of selfadvocacy groups across Malta agreed to participate in the research design. It adopts a qualitative approach with in-depth interviews and focus groups were held within respective centers in order to illustrate the impact of selfadvocacy change upon group members. The results indicated that self-advocacy has been instrumental in promoting the equality, independence and livelihood of persons with disabilities. Observations were also held in seminars to gain a greater insight into self-advocacy and highlight the problematic areas that are restricting its future growth. To conclude, these limitations will be targeted by suggested recommendations.
VOLUNTARY WORK EXPERIENCE IN NAPLES
What Motivates Young People To Go For Voluntary Work in Naples
Volunteering interests people coming from all walks of life, gender and age. Youths are no exception because they have a great interest in giving their time to benefit the community. Indeed, voluntary work helps the development of young people because by involving themselves activities youth develop their identity and give meaning to their life. Understanding youth volunteering in Malta is thus necessary to understand the role of volunteering in local youth culture.
Every summer, a group of Maltese youth volunteers go to do voluntary work in Naples. The volunteers that involve themselves in this particular type of voluntary activity are responsible for the coordination of a summer school Naples. This study explains the various phenomena that attract young people to do this missionary activity in Naples. Fourteen participants were interviewed about their experience in Naples. In this study, all participants interviewed are very young, suggesting that the participation in voluntary activities at a young age may be a contributory factor to develop a culture of volunteering.
At the same time, it is becoming increasingly difficult to attract youths at volunteering. Some ways of making voluntary work more attractive are identified and discussed in this study. By engaging in voluntary activities, youths offer many positive contributions to society, therefore it important that adults and voluntary organisations provide young people with both effective support and positive criticism.
PEOPLE WITH INTELLECTUAL AND PHYSICAL DISABILITY IN THE WORKFORCE SECTOR
This thesis is divided into mainly four sections. Firstly, in the beginning one shall find a brief introduction on how disabled people were treated before. Moreover, a definition of disability is than found followed by the distinction between the Medical and the Social Model of disability. Furthermore, in the second section named the literature review; one can find the effects people’s behaviour has on disabled people, the issues of discrimination and the Maltese legislations regarding people with a disability. Furthermore, one can find the Maltese employment situation of disabled people followed by a comparison with other countries such as the United
Kingdom. The Disability Employment Policy and the New Guidelines are also going to be discussed. On the other hand, in the third section one can find the methodology part, were the aims of the study and the methods used to carry out the study are explained. Last but not least, the last section named data analysis gives the views of ten
Sociology Dissertations disabled people who accepted to be interviewed on several issues regarding their present job and if they face discrimination or not. Finally, a number of aspects which arise from the study are also going to be discussed. The thesis finishes with the references section where one can find all the books and websites used to further my research. All of this is than followed by a brief conclusion and recommendations in which all the major obstacles disabled people face are mentioned and several important issues which must be taken into consideration are underlined.
“Work is not only most significant way out of poverty, but can also provide valued social roles outside the family, including a sense of responsibility that transcends the individual. Employment can thus offer an important way of structuring one’s sense of identity. Similarly, the well-catalogued consequences of prolonged periods of employment go beyond mere financial hardship and challenge both the individual and the community of which they form a part”. Miles Rinaldi & Robert Hill.
A FATHER AFFAIR?
Taking the Perception of Maltese Professionals Regarding Child Sexual Abuse
THE CONTRIBUTION OF TERTIARY EDUCATION TO SOCIAL MOBILITY IN MALTA
A Sociological Analysis of the Contribution of Medicine and Bachelor Degree Courses to Social Mobility in Malta
This dissertation investigates the extent to which tertiary education in Malta is contributing to the process of upward social mobility. It focuses on two major faculties within the University of Malta- the Faculty of Medicine and the Faculty of Arts. It tries to uncover whether the process of self-recruitment in certain ‘prestigious’ professions such as the medical profession is still prevalent in Malta. The hypothesis of this study is that although during the last decades, university has opened to the masses, however, ‘prestigious’ faculties such as the Faculty of Medicine are still characterized by a dominance of individuals coming from an elite background unlike other less ‘prestigious’ faculties such as the Faculty of Arts which tend to have more participants from the
Sociology Dissertations working-class. In order to test this hypothesis, 120 students were interviewed- 60 students who are following a course in Medicine and the other half who are following a Bachelors course. The results suggest that the initial hypothesis of this study are correct since the research shows that the majority of students following the Medicine course have one or more of their relatives in the same profession or else are in a professional occupation. On the other hand, results show that the majority of students following a Bachelors course come from a working-class background.
THE ROLE OF MALTESE SCHOOLS IN THE INTEGRATION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES
The study focuses on the extent to which the Maltese schools help in the integration of persons with disabilities.
The major factors dealing with this integration were the attitude, resources, and equity amongst students, facilitators and teachers when dealing with children having a disability.
This dissertation was based on qualitative research method having semi-structured interviews among the participants. Reactions, attitudes, feelings and ways of dealing with the integration of persons with disability were pointed out through this qualitative method. This was sustained with the literature and local research.
After analysing and discussing various views, the study concluded that the mainstream schools were integrating the children with disabilities, which leads to having inclusion within the society itself. The degree to which inclusion is a reality seems to be quite good. But there is always space for improvement. Another conclusion made was that there is the need for more specialised resources to cater for students with specific disabilities. We cannot continue to talk about integration and not have the needed resources and accessibility to do this in practice. General recommendations were given in order to improve the integration of children with disabilities in mainstream schools.
Keywords o Integration and inclusion o Persons with disability o Equity and equality o Mainstream education and schooling
POLITICAL MEDIA – IS IT EFFECTIVE?
The Politicians’ Viewpoint
Maltese political parties utilize the mass media to convey their messages to the electorate in an effort to try to obtain the maximum number of votes at election time. in this study, I am going to examine why political Parties believe they need to make use of various media to send messages to the public.
This study is going to be based on qualitative interviews with four prominent figures within the four Maltese political parties. Through these interviews, I shall try to ascertain how the political parties make use of their own media where applicable, and the general media; some of the issues discussed in this text regard how party political broadcasts are funded, how the broadcasts are targeted towards different social groups within the
Maltese electorate and how some political candidates gain media exposure and not others.
In this way, I will be in a position to assess whether political parties rely solely and completely on the mass media for their propaganda purposes or if this is only one way of persuading to get the attention of the electorate.
A Measuring-Rod of Maltese Racism
Anti-Arab sentiments in Malta are tangible in the various aspects of social life. As the main aim of this study was to qualify rather than quantify the degree of racism against Arabs in Malta, deliberations focus on Maltese-
Arab married couples, due to their multifaceted experiences in this regard. The research consisted in interviewing sessions intended to explore manifestations of racial prejudices and discrimination; namely at the workplace, public venues, and governmental departments; and by relatives, friends, neighbours, and the local media. The analysis of local newspapers was employed as an additional source of information in order to support or refute affirmations made during the interviews.
This work betrays the fact that religion is definitely a crucial factor, which affects thoroughly Maltese-Arab relations in Malta. On the other hand the local media has proved seminal in producing and perpetuating anti-
Arab sentiments. Through scrutiny of the latter considerations the researcher tried to (i) outline the real causes of Arabophobia and, accordingly, (ii) evaluate the possibility of pluralistic integration of Arab nationals in
THE GRASSROOTS NOTION OF DEMOCRACY
The definition of the word democracy from the time of ancient Greece up to now, has not been that constant.
There have been many theories and ideologies on this concept. Thus existed many debates on the ability of democracy to present properly both the will of the people and to do what is right. This sociological study will therefore expose the different viewpoints of different sociologists, who had expressed carious ideologies regarding this subject. This study will also focus on development of democracy in Malta, with special reference to the introduction and evolvement of Local Councils in these islands. Such a concept would be the source through which the ever important features of democracy: decentralisation, devolution of power and subsidiarity are within reach and grasp of common citizens. This will be done by focusing on one particular Gozitan Local
Council, that of the locality of Xagħra, and by resorting mainly two qualitative research methods. Semistructured interviews and with councillors and ex-councillors together with textual analysis of minute meetings will be used as tools for this research. The findings will be brought together to give a more comprehensive picture of the phenomenon under investigation.
MONEY AND EQUALITY IN MARRIAGE
A Study Among Dual-Earner and Single-Earner Couples in a Gozitan Village
This dissertation is about money in marriage. Its aim is to study the degree to which equality can be said to exist among married couples. From the sociological literature presented in this dissertation it is evident that inequality in relation to money does exist among couples and that it is usually the wife who is left without personal spending money. The crucial part of this dissertation is a social survey conducted in a Gozitan village among both dual-earner and single-earner couples. The aim of this survey is to find out the main ways in which
Gozitan couples manage their household money and to find out whether the degree of inequality between husband and wife is less when the wife is involved in paid employment. This is followed by an analysis of the research results, which are intertwined with a discussion on the survey findings.
THE EXTRA PARENT
Grandparents Are Helping Out, Pitching In, And Raising Their Grandchildren
In a context of social change, different family structures and realities emerge. Socio-economic changes have set priority need of women to work in the labour market. Added to this, different family structures, such as single motherhood have been forced to go out and find work. Although this situation has certainly solved some economic problems, it has created others’ concerning the responsibility of childcare. If parent/s cannot take the responsibility of child caring because of work or other factors, who is going to take care of these children? This study is a sociological inquiry examining the nature of the relationship built between grandparents who care give their grandchildren.
The analysis indicates that the role that grandparents take as caregivers resembles that of a parent. The level of responsibility grandparents are being faced with has induced them to act more as parents than as grandparents.
This has led to a particular situation in which the child builds a strong affectional bond with the grandparents.
This bond is strong to such an extent that grandparents can be classified as ‘EXTRA PARENTS’. In situations of dual earner couples, the grandparent becomes a sort of supplementary parent (third), but when the level of responsibility is higher, such as in the cases of single parents, the grandparents automatically become the parents. The reality and the exigencies of grandparents to care give their grandchildren has led to an interesting setting in which the child today is being faced with another pair of parents.
John Paul Mifsud
NO TO UNISEX ROLES?
A Comparative Study in Gender Roles in Ħal Kirkop
Jeremy Boissevain, in his book
Ħal Farruā: A Village in Malta
(1969), a study carried out in the early 1960s, stated that gender roles in the family life were clearly segregated along sex lines. He defines the family as based on a sharp sexual division of labour, in which the man was expected to be the breadwinner and act as a head of the household. On the other hand, the woman was expected to stay at home and be responsible for the domestic care and upkeep of the home.
This study intends to uncover social change, if any, in terms of gender roles in the contemporary family. The research examines the contrasting features of the traditional family vis-à-vis the contemporary family in Ħal
The research findings demonstrate a complex context of the contemporary family. it is clear that the family unit departed from the traditional sex-ascribed unit. However, this does not necessarily mean that traditional elements are no longer there. The contemporary family, which I referred to the neo-traditional family, suggests that there is no evidence of a total disruption of the traditional model. One cannot draw a line and distinguish between traditional and contemporary families. The elements of a traditional family are being combined in the contemporary one, making it possible for the two family arrangements to co-exist and possibly be blended together. In this context, gender roles are blurred and not so clear cut, but still present.
GOZO STUDENTS AT UNIVERSITY IN MALTA
Challenges Faced by Gozitan Students – An Analysis
This study highlights Gozitan undergraduates studying at the University of Malta and their new life in Malta.
More importantly, this study identifies the problems that these students have to contend with. This research is about undergraduate students following a full time course at the University of Malta coming from Gozo and the problems they have to deal with to benefit from this level of education. These problems range from those of displacement, mobility and financial positions. Investigation was made possible by utilising questionnaires with
200 students according to a quota divided on the year of studies and the faculty. The aim of this survey is to find out what the problems of these students are, and if there is a relationship between the year of studies and the father’s occupation, and whether these variables influence the problems they have to go through. This is followed by an analysis of the research results, which are intertwined with a discussion on the survey findings.
Maria Grech Magro
A Case Study of the Third World Group
Social movements, non-governmental organisations and other voluntary groups have so much become part of the daily social life that sometimes they are forgotten, and their effects upon society are not so much being considered as important by many people. Thus, it has constantly been the author’s wish to look at these social movements through a sociological point of view and reveal how they work, what they are after, the kind of people whom these attract, and their structure, apart from looking at several other components which make up these groups of people.
This work tries to put into light, one of the local social movements by looking at both the structural set-up and the individuals who keep it in existence by adapting it to the current situation within society. The author identifies the process which the group went through, which resulted in the present structure as witnessed by the members; as well as the ongoing process of integration of the members within the group.
The Third World Group is a social movement which constantly tries to reach out to the people in order to make them aware of the unequal and unjust society which we are living in. However, by no means does this work provide a full picture of the group. Yet, through the use of documents, leaflets and the several accounts by the members, the author could establish a good representation of the group which led to further explanations and empirical evidence for statements made throughout this work. A chapter which underlines theories provides the reader with an adequate background for a better understanding of social movements, while giving also a glimpse of the situations both in Malta and abroad, where the social movement is carrying out its work.
AUTHORITARIAN AND EGALITARIAN MONETARY DECISION-MAKING IN THE MALTESE FAMILY:
A Study of Married Couples in Two Local Towns
The family is a very important institution in Malta. The present study aims to analyse such an institution from a monetary perspective. It will investigate whether monetary decisions reflect an authoritative trend within the family structure or a more egalitarian and democratic trend. Previous studies on this issue are consulted to derive hypotheses that are tested in this quantitative research. Married couples aged thirty to sixty years old are chosen from two comparable towns in Malta to participate in this research. The findings of this dissertation show whether the Maltese family under study is still characterised by an authoritative figure or is moving towards an egalitarian structure.
Keywords o Family o Monetary Decision-Making o Money Management o Egalitarian o Authoritarian o Gender Inequalities
SPORTS AS A CAREER
A Qualitative Study on the Feasibility of Becoming a Professional Athlete in Malta
The following study is a sociological inquiry investigating whether Maltese athletes have the possibility to take up sport as a profession. This was carried out by conducting fourteen in-depth interviews with athletes and another five interviews with officials forming part of the sport bureaucratic structure in Malta. The athletes interviewed formed part of the National Team. The following research study seeks to map out the constraints faced by Maltese semi-professional athletes to manage to compete at an international level.
In the following research the researcher will set out to study whether Maltese athletes competing on an international level perceive their activity as a type of work or simply as a hobby. Therefore, by analyzing which perception they have towards sport, the researcher will be able to deduct whether competitive sport in Malta is losing its play element. The researcher is also interested in finding our whether semi professional Maltese athletes see the possibility that sports in Malta in the future can be a lucrative career, where the individual can earn a living.
Mathea Karla Gauci
PROFESSIONALLY EMPLOYED FEMALES AND THE CARING OF ELDERLY PARENTS
The Effects of Work on Care Giving
Professionally employed females and non-employed females were studied within a sociological framework. The main aim was investigate the effects of employment on the care giving towards elderly parents. The purpose of this study was to find the difference between the type of care giving provided by the employed educated females and non-working females.
A few decades back, women generally were assigned the role of primary caregivers. As women continue to enter in the world of work, their ability to provide assistance and support to the elderly diminishes. As the health of the elderly deteriorates, they are becoming increasingly dependent upon family members for support and assistance. Difficulties may arise due to family expectations projected upon the adult daughter, regarding the type and amount of care that is required.
The change in the working patterns of women in the past 30 years has had an impact on the availability of women to engage in full time care giving responsibilities. Women who care for elderly parents are constantly juggling the obligations of work, family and care giving. Naturally, this is no easy task and problems such as
Sociology Dissertations time availability, lack of personal space and conflicts in inter-personal relationships must always be included, when thinking of working females with care giving responsibilities.
THE ROLE OF THE MOTHER-IN-LAW IN TODAY’S MALTESE FAMILY
The Maltese society is experiencing rapid change that is promoting progress. Although progress is necessary, it is the cause for the acquisition of new habits and values as people are viewing life from new perspectives. The aim of this qualitative research was to discuss with 20 participants, how the changes that the Maltese society has experienced, has influenced the role of the mother-in-law. The research was divided in three parts, namely what were the perceptions of the respondents about the mother-in-law, how the respondents related to their mother-in-law and finally what should be the ideal role of a mother-in-law. After reporting the main findings of the research, the data was analysed. The main points elicited from the analysis of the data were that although the role of the mother-in-law has changed, she is still an important point of reference. She is welcome to take up the responsibility of child-caring while the parents are at work, although the couple expected that she did not interfere with the independence of the family. Based upon the conclusions, the researcher recommended a number of changes intended to enhance the role of the mother-in-law in today’s Maltese family.
COMPARING TWO GENERATIONS OF WOMEN IN A SMALL TOWN IN MALTA, ATTARD:
A Sociological Inquiry
Social change is slowly mounting up in our society, resulting in change in values, morality, sexuality, religion and other related issues. By comparing two generations of females in H’Attard, I will attempt to illustrate how social change takes place in the value-priorities, opinions and attitudes of people.
Social change is a continuous and complex process. It is so slow and gradual that people experiencing it are not always aware of the change taking place around them. Sometimes, years have to pass for people to become conscious of these changes. Unfortunately, we tend to live in the past far more than we realize or would like to admit. Similarly we interpret reality in terms of concepts and worldviews based on past experiences. We tend to interpret reality around concepts based on experiences which were interpreted earlier by older generations in our society. As we grow-up, we are continuously interpreting reality upon pre-fabricated concepts which act as
Sociology Dissertations old road maps to guide us in reaching our goals. Likewise we were socialized into values pre-fabricated by past generations. However, as we grow-up and keep on experiencing change we begin to give priority to values which traditionally were not of great importance. As a consequence, the priorities that we give to certain values than others reflect the impact of our formative experiences. Therefore, special reference will be made to the transitional period of adolescence where our worldviews tend to crystallize. The main hypothesis of this study is that the old generations compared to the young generations tend to give more priority to materialist/traditional values over post-materialist/traditional values. In order to examine these shifting value orientations, this study will explore how generational succession contributes to social change. In order to understand this shift from materialism/traditional to post-materialism/traditional value orientations between both generations, changes linked to education, morality, sexuality, family life, work and religions values were explored.
Our attitudes can change easily, but it takes much longer for a change to occur in a central component of our worldview. Changes in worldviews can only take place as one generation replaces another. Thus, prevailing worldviews change gradually through intergenerational replacement. This means that social and cultural change reflects it’s self in generational shifts. Therefore the study of generations is important because they are the force behind the preservation and the change of tradition within society. In order to explore such themes the main arguments of Karl Mannheim and Ronald Inglehart on the related subjects are regularly referred to throughout this study.
In order to study intergenerational shifts in value priorities a quantitative approach was used in this research. A convenience sampling method was used to obtain the 100 females from H’Attard participating in this study. The data was obtained by using structured closed ended quantitative questionnaires which were personally distributed and collected during face to face interviews to all the respondents participating in the study.
Interviews with all the participants were carried out during the month of February. The questionnaires were pre-coded and analysed by means of the SPSS program version 11.0.0 (2001). The analysed data was discussed and supported by means of tables and bar graphs. Chi-Square tests were carried out to check for association between a variety of variables such as respondents’ age, occupation, level of education, religiosity and many others. Some of the findings support the hypothesis of this research whilst others reject it. It is important to note that neither one of the hypothesis can be totally accepted and rejected. It was concluded that the generation of mothers under study favoured more traditional/materialistic values and needs compared to the young generation of daughters. However, this cannot be generalized since both generations hold a variety of mixed value orientations. On the other hand compared to their mothers the daughters gave more importance to postmaterial/traditional values and seemed to be hold different worldviews.
Keywords o Generations
Sociology Dissertations o Intergenerational Value Change o Materialist/Traditional Values o Post-Materialist/Traditional Values o Worldviews o Generational Succession o Generation Gap o Social Change o Value Priorities
THE SATU EXPERIENCE
A Drug – Crime Relationship
‘Drugs are tearing apart our societies, spawning crime, spreading diseases such as aids and killing our youth and our future.’
UN Secretary General Kofi Annan
The problem of drug abuse is a widespread phenomenon. These days, drugs can be found everywhere. Just as there are many types of drugs available, there are as many reasons for trying drugs or starting to use drugs regularly. The truth is that drugs don’t solve problems. Drugs simply hide feelings and problems for a short period of time. Drugs ruin every aspect of a person’s life.
The purpose of this study was to present the personal experience of drug-using, crime-committing individuals.
Six inmates who have been convicted of crimes are found in the prison-based therapeutic unit of SATU
(Substance Abuse Therapeutic Unit).
Entering for the first time this correctional institution, I felt a bit confused and afraid of entering a place I was always taught not to go into. I was under the impression that inmates are basically different from the rest of society. But my experience with these people over the weeks changed completely this wrong impression. The men
I met at SATU are in a sense the poorest of the poor. Society seems to have little sympathy for them. In this research project, my point is not to justify or otherwise drug addicts’ criminal behaviour but merely setting a moot point to the reader, to understand the need to enhance society to be more tolerant and accepting towards the ex-drug addicts.
WOMEN’S ATTITUDES TOWARDS WORK
In a Residential Home for Persons with Disabilities
This research study examines women’s attitudes towards work, in a residential home for persons with disabilities. It is a comparative study between higher and lower educated women. This was done by means of ten in-depth interviews. Special consideration is given to family responsibilities, childcare, job satisfaction, work environment and values of work. The aim is to uncover the differences in attitudes between women with tertiary education, and others with secondary education, and whether women are motivated in their work.
Recommendations of policies and measures intended to facilitate women’s entry in the labour market conclude this dissertation.
COMMUNICATION PATTERNS WITHIN AN ORGANIZATION
This research was set up to conduct a small sale study on communication patterns within a well known financial organization. The research was done through interviews with willing informants. The interviews were transcribed and their content was compared with the available theoretical literature on the subject. Qualitative methodology was utilized for the conducting of this dissertation. The data was primarily gathered through interviews which were composed of a set of eight principal issues for discussion.
It came out that communication within the organization under study was conducted basically top-down. Bottom up communication is much more complicated as other variables such as trade unions come into play. These findings suggest an affirmation of other findings that came out from other similar studies. That is, organizational communication is practically conducted in the same manner both at a local and worldwide level.
The conclusions reached imply that what has been suggested in the literature review does not at all apply for this organization at a local level.
Keywords o Communication o Hierarchy o Bureaucracy
THE PERSPECTIVE OF UNEMPLOYED YOUTHS TOWARDS UNEMPLOYMENT AND THEIR LEISURE
A Quantitative Analysis in the Outer Harbour Region Area
This dissertation is going to focus on the perspective of unemployed youths towards unemployment and their leisure time. This research is going to centre primarily on how these unemployed youths perceive unemployment and what factors affect whether one gets employed or not. How these unemployed youths used to spend their leisure time when they were employed is also going to be investigated. Moreover, the manner of who looks for help in governmental institutions is also going to be tackled. Apart from giving the general percentage outcome of the whole population in the analysis of data this research goes into more detail as regards analyses from the perspective of age: those aged between 15 and 19 years being in the late teenage years, against those aged between 20 and 24 years, being in early adulthood, and gender. This is going to be pursued in order to see whether there is any difference in opinions between the age groups and also whether there is any difference between the opinion of females and males when tackling the issues. This research was done using quantitative methodology. The participants of this research were one hundred twenty unemployed youths, aged between fifteen and twenty-four years from the localities of B’Kara and Qormi. This dissertation is going to follow this order: chapter one: introduction, chapter two: literature review, chapter three: methodology and chapter four: results and chapter five is the conclusion of this dissertation.
Keywords o Unemployment o Youths o Leisure o Family o Education o Unemployed Youths
TATTOOING AND EMPLOYMENT IN MALTA:
A Qualitative Study
The main goal of my research is to investigate the relation between tattooing and employment in Malta and thus show if there exists a stigma towards people with tattoos when it comes to employment. I thus conducted a qualitative study which consisted of interviews with three types of people: tattooed individuals, tattooists, and human resource managers of important companies. The long essay also reviews literature on tattooing including the different types of tattoos and the different ways in which tattoos have started to gain greater acceptance in various societies. By means of my dissertation I hope to give a clearer picture about a subject which to my knowledge has been the topic of study of only one dissertation in the Maltese Islands, a quantitative work by
Anika Griscti, in 2004, and thus encourage the employers involved to be more accepting towards people with tattoos. In fact my study did show that although society at large has indeed become more accepting towards tattooed people discrimination does exist in the sphere of employment. The research revealed that the two main
Sociology Dissertations factors influencing employer decisions are the type of tattoo one owns and the position to be filled by the prospective worker.
Robert Alexander Bugeja
Keywords o Tattooing o Employment o Deviance o Stigma o Social Meaning o Moral Passage
I SHOP THEREFORE I AM
A Sociological Study of the Meaning of Consumption Among Maltese Youth
The aim of this research is a sociological enquiry investigating the meaning behind the activity of consumption.
It examines the underlying reasons contributing to consumers choosing certain goods over others. It also investigates how people link their appearance with what they consume. Advertising is another concept explored throughout the research, seen as responsible for creating desires and a need to consume. We also see how fashion is able to communicate and give signs of economic status and consumers use if for the same effect. Lastly, it also investigates how shopping is gendered, a pleasurable activity that functions as a form of therapy and the period fluctuations of consumption. The entire mentioned stands as an important contribution to facilitate the aim of this research; to find a meaning behind consumption and that I shop therefore I am, is not a myth.
Keywords o Advertising o Appearance o Fashion o Shopping
EMPLOYMENT AFTER IMPRISONMENT
Is Prejudice the only Impediment to Employment?
An individual who has a clean police conduct enjoys a place to live in, a family and a job. Ex-convicts, however, have great difficulties to enjoy their lives based on these criteria. One of the major difficulties that ex-convicts have is finding a job. Their prison sentence generates labelling, stigma and prejudice. All these factors make it more difficult for ex-prisoners to re-integrate in society.
Chapter 1 is a preamble of the subject highlighting the intentions of the researcher and the interest in the subject. The chapter narrates who the protagonists are and also elucidates on concepts such as prejudice and discrimination. The preamble is then followed by a theoretical chapter which analyses various sociological perspectives ranging from classical to modern thinkers. The third chapter describes the methodology and methods used. This chapter is followed by an analysis of the interviews conducted with a number of participants namely employers, ex-prisoners, probation officer and other service providers and policy makers involved with this social group. The last section of this dissertation incorporates some solutions and propositions so that can help ex-prisoners reintegrate in society.
Ylenia Cauchi Carter
MIGRATION AND SOCIAL CHANGE:
The Case of Returned Gozitan Migrants
During the last century, many Gozitans have emigrated to earn a living in a foreign country. A large percentage of these Gozitans migrants, chose America or Australia as their host country. After a number of years of hard work, many of them have returned to Gozo. The primary aim of this dissertation is to study whether emigration has resulted in a change in values for the Gozitan migrants, who emigrated to America of Australia and now have re-settled back in Gozo. Using structured questionnaire administered to a sample of 150 returned Gozo migrants, I will investigate the hypothesis that the returned Gozitan migrants who once lived in America or
Australia, did experience a change in their values as a result of their migratory period abroad.
SURVIVING MENTAL ILLNESS
This study is a Sociological enquiry investigating the beliefs and attitudes of the immediate neighbours of a community mental health facility, the only one of its sort in Malta. This is done by means of ten in-depth interviews as well as observation. The surrounding community is studied in its role as a host to a group of people who have traditionally been excluded by society in general. This study strongly holds that the extent to which
Sociology Dissertations the social integration of the mentally ill can be facilitated highly depends on the willingness of the wider community to accept these people as equals within society. The findings show several ambivalent beliefs and attitudes, which seem to reflect today’s ‘runaway’ life. Indeed, these attitudes stand as an important element which can facilitate, or otherwise, the ‘survival of mental illness’.
SOCIAL SOLIDARITY IN PRACTICE
Solidarity, being fundamental to society is implemented in different ways. Looking at the reasons which justify people’s actions is one purpose of this study. This study searches for verification or refutation of the hypothesis that members of society are more concerned about profiting themselves than doing well for other members in society. It also focuses on changes in values of solidarity. Charity, voluntary work, social solidarity, social capital, unity and trust are some of the concepts highlighted. The main arguments of Robert Putnam and Francis
Fukuyama in the related subjects are regularly referred to throughout this dissertation.
The quantitative approach was applicable for this study. The convenience sampling method was used to obtain the number of respondents participating in the study – B.A second and third year university students. The data was collected by use of e-mail. The questionnaires were then coded and analysed by means of an SPSS program.
The analysis gives a detailed argument of the data collected, supported by graphs and tables. Some tests were done to check for association between a variety of issues and the variables gender, subjects studied (Sociology and Social Studies in particular) and paid work activity. The analysis highlights some statistics that support the hypotheses of this research project. Other results oppose it. Neither one of the hypotheses can be totally accepted or rejected. It was concluded that the Maltese people are neither completely self-centred nor entirely united. The
Maltese have mixed motivations. On the one hand, they donate and help for reasons and self-interest but on the other hand, they are caring towards the needs of others in society.
Keywords o Social Capital o Social Solidarity o Charity o Charitable Organisations
Sociology Dissertations o Voluntary Work o Trust o Social Order o Unity
CHANGE IN THE GOZITAN FAMILY
The purpose of this study was to study the change that is taking place in the Gozitan family, especially due to the increase in mothers that are being engaged in paid employment outside the home. This study is aimed at investigating if relationships of the dual-earner family are different from single-earner and traditional families; if dual-earner families are less close to their family of origin than single-earner and traditional families and to investigate if dual-earner families have less time to spend together on leisure activities than non-dual earner families have. This study was conducted using the case-study method. Fifteen Gozitan families participated in my research and they were divided into three groups: the traditional family, the contemporary family constituted of one breadwinner and the contemporary dual-earner family.
THE EFFECTS BROUGHT ABOUT BY THE PAID EMPLOYMENT OF MARRIED WOMEN IN THE 25-35
AGE COHORT IN A GOZITAN VILLAGE
This study highlights the pull factors that are encouraging women to participate in the labour market. More importantly, this study is about identifying the effects both positive and negative that are attributed to the workforce. The target of this research are Gozitan married women in the 25-35 age cohort in the role of workers as well as members of a family (of orientation or procreation). In fact, these effects are perceived in the light of three very important contexts; the effects on the married female worker, on the family as well as on the children.
Investigation has been made possible by utilising structured interviews with 100 working married women from a
Gozitan village. The aim of this survey is to find out whether there is a relationship between the occupations of married women and the so-called effects that have developed as a result of doing paid employment outside the home. This is followed by an analysis of the research results, which are intertwined with a discussion on the survey findings.
THE REINTEGRATION OF DRUG ABUSERS IN SOCIETY
The reintegration of drug abusers in society was the focus of this sociological study. The argument is introduced by discussing the origins and aim of the study. An overview about the situation in Malta about therapeutic communities and reintegration is also related. The theory is based on an interactionist perspective namely
Becker and functionalist views by Durkheim and Merton.
The study tries to identify through qualitative case study research the privileges or difficulties encountered while the former drug abuser was integrating back in society. In depth interviews were carried out with ten former drug abusers in order to highlight the subject matter. Moreover the researcher carried out interviews in governmental and non-governmental organizations in order to see how they facilitate or hinder reintegration. A detailed chapter about drug abuse, therapeutic communities and reintegration explains the concepts and notions relevant to this dissertation.
The analysis gives an elaborate discussion about how the life prior to treatment conditioned reintegration of former drug abusers. Reintegration within various social settings were discussed namely the family, leisure, neighbourhood, partners, friends and work.
The conclusion sums up the dissertation and discusses that reintegration is a gradual process acquired through time. It relates to how participants failed or reintegrated in society.
Keywords o Reintegration o Drug Abuse o Former Drug Abusers o Labelling o Deviance o Stigma
JUST AS THEY VACATE FROM CHILDHOOD THEY BRING ANOTHER CHILD TO THE WORLD:
What is Causing the Increase in Teenage Pregnancy in Our Society?
The aim of this study is to scrutinise the causes which are making up for the increase in teenage pregnancy among out youths. This dissertation focuses on those females who are either pregnant teenagers, teenage mothers or those who have gone through teenage motherhood a few years ago.
Teenage parenting may be looked upon as a moral and social problem which leads to other problems. Though society perceives teenage childbearing as a marker of general problem behaviour syndrome for girls, the majority of the teenage mothers do not demonstrate long-term negative outcomes, since they claim that they have succeeded with the help of others as well as their will to have the baby once they got pregnant.
The main cause of teenage pregnancy is that teenagers are engaging in sexual activity but we cannot ignore the fact that humans are all sexual beings. Humans include, women, men, teenagers and also children who all practice sexuality in their own different ways. So why do we only blame teenagers for this phenomenon? Maybe because their so-called ‘mistake’ could have repercussions on their later life? We blame them because they are enamoured with the body and forget the meaning, but all teenagers are doing is repeating the errors of the previous generations.
THE SOCIAL AND CULTURAL PREDISPOSITIONS OF EATING DISORDERS among female schoolchildren in Malta
The following work is a quantitative research designed to study the various cultural and social factors that may influence unhealthy eating practices and body management habits and may predispose a young Maltese female schoolchild to develop an Eating Disorder. The data collection method used is of the quantitative type with a nationally representative sample having a proportionate representation of each region of the island according to school and population density.
The main themes that were described as most relevant by the main contributors in this field were the family, media exposure and personal lifestyle. The questionnaire was specifically constructed to address these themes and to bring to light any patterns, tendencies and correlations from these themes together with the respondents’ attitudes and habits.
Keywords o Eating Disorders o Anorexia Nervosa o Bulimia Nervosa
Sociology Dissertations o Gender Perspective o Media o Family o Youth
In Search For the Underlying Truths
This study examines the main causes that lead to domestic violence and the abuses that women may be subjected to. It places under scrutiny fourteen separate cases of such victims who had to leave their home, away from their partner and family. This research first takes a look at the theoretical perspective regarding domestic violence whilst focusing on the issue of maintaining a sociological approach. Personal data involving the victims and their abusers has also been included.
The results of this study indicate that in Malta the victims’ ages vary widely, most of them do not work and are dependent on their husband. Battered women are frequently adversely hurt by psychological violence and the most influential factors that lead to violence were possessiveness, strong patriarchal control and jealousy. None of the women interviewed showed that they had neglected the interest of their family. Most of the abusers were older than their spouses, were not abused during childhood. Some of them were unemployed and they seemed to be very possessive.
Although beneficial programs can play a part towards bringing the desired change, several cultural norms and beliefs must be tackled in order to disrupt the cycle of violence.
THE AIRPORT AS A STRUCTURE OF PURE MOBILITY
A Sociological Perspective
REASONS LEADING TO SEPARATION
Case Studies of Separated People From a Cana Movement Group
Separation and annulment have not been part of the normal organization of social life in our society until some time ago. People used to marry for utilitarian reasons and were happy with everything. However, this situation changed as our society became more complex. People are now marrying in order to gain their status and they may be expecting too much from their partners. Family life is facing more problems than ever before, and this is leading to an increase in marital breakdowns. This study is concerned with uncovering the reasons which are leafing to separation in our society. As the problem is quite apparent, several mediation services, such as the family court, are being established in order to try to arrange family problems before couples actually take the last step of separating.
A Qualitative approach was used by conducting face-to-face interviews with ten people who make part of a Cana self-help group. All the interviewees had their own story and reasons why their marriage failed and this shows the extent of this problem in our society.
Basing itself on the literature review, from this study it was found out that the major reasons contributing to separation are divided into two: external reasons, which are interference by in-laws and problems related to work, and internal reasons, which are mainly lack of love, infidelity and violence, all of which lead to disharmony.
In view of these findings, several recommendations were suggested in the conclusion of this thesis. The most important suggestion that needs to be implemented is to socialize children from a very young age several important values which may help them later in life, such as, not being egoistic.
INTEGRATION OF REFUGEES IN MALTA
This study examines the factors leading or hindering integration of refugees in Malta. The notion of integration is very complex to define and to put into practice. It is also important to note that integration is not a forced act therefore, and individual must have conscious will in order to pass through the process of integration.
Throughout the years refugees have been considered as misplaces and homeless people, deprived from policies concerning them, especially strategies for integration. This situation caused considerable difficulty in the process of their settlement, particularly during its early stages. However, it is suggested that the nature of these
Sociology Dissertations encounters contributed to strengthen the adaptability of the interviewed refugees.
Therefore, the aim of this study is to uncover the major factors that lead refugees to structural and cognitive integration. It is also important to uncover feelings, challenges and experiences of their everyday life.
DAY TRIPPING TO GOZO:
A Sociological Analysis of the View of Foreign Trippers and Locals
The primary aim of this dissertation is to examine day tripping to Gozo from a sociological point of view, in the context of the importance which day tripping has gained in Gozo’s tourist industry since the 1960’s. The main focus of this study is to identify whether foreign day-trippers visiting in winter, are satisfied with their day trip in Gozo. Besides this, importance is also given to the attitude of locals towards day-trippers notwithstanding the impacts they leave on the island. The crucial parts of this dissertation are structured personal interviews administered to Gozitans residing in an area of high day-tripper density together with questionnaires administered to foreign day-trippers on their departure from Gozo. These are followed by an analysis of the research results as well as a general discussion on the surveys findings.
GENDER DIFFERENCES IN EARLY SOCIALIZATION:
A Comparative Analysis of a Maltese Town and a Gozitan Village
The aim of this dissertation is to create gender awareness towards the way adults, especially parents, are likely to distinguish young children on the basis of gender, and thus treat them accordingly. Gender differences in early childhood are common, as can be seen from various studies presented in this dissertation. Thus, the problem should not be taken lightly since very often, early gender stereotypes are the source of gender inequality in society. The crucial part of this dissertation is a social survey conducted in two localities, Mosta and Sannat.
The aim of this survey is to identify whether in the two localities mentioned, which are situated in different islands, there are differences in the way adults socialize their children. This is followed by an analysis of the research results as well as a general discussion on the survey findings.
Keywords o Socialization o Differences o Gender o Stereotypes o Childhood
SUBSTANCE ABUSE IN YOUTH CULTURE:
Places of Entertainment in Relation to this Practice
With every passing day, written articles about substance abuse or drug seizures are being continuously published in local newspapers. This reveals that the drug situation in Malta is very lively and active. Very often, youths are being mentioned in these articles. Why are youths so much related to the use of substances?
This dissertation examines youths and youth cultures and the relationship they have with substance abuse.
Special consideration is given to places of entertainment (discos, bars and parties), the places where generally substances are being used and abused of. This study focuses on hedonistic reasons for drug taking and the involvement with the practice. In addition, the author aims to discover whether there exists a truer reality behind the claim that drug use is just a ‘pastime’. Interventions and suggestions about the drug problem in
Malta are also proposed.
IS MANDATORY RETIREMENT AGEISTIC?
The 1982 Vienna International Plan of Action on Ageing recognised that a major aim of society should be the elimination of any form of discrimination present in the labour market especially discrimination based on age.
Moreover, it also acknowledged that all older workers should enjoy equal access to orientation training and retraining.
Unfortunately in many cases these aims have not been reached as is manifested by the relationship between elderly persons and employment. Thus society has to ensure that employers, employment counsellors and society in general are educated about older workers’ capabilities. Moreover, measures should be taken to assist older persons to return or stay in employment not only through the creation of more job opportunities but also by
Sociology Dissertations facilitating training or re-training and promoting life-long learning. Chronological age should never be used as the sole judge of whether an individual is able to perform work, but the right to employment should be simply based on one’s performance.
This dissertation investigates whether the ideas behind mandatory retirement are the result of ageistic influence and thought. Te hypothesis of this study is that mandatory retirement is the result of the way older workers are depicted through the construction of stereotypes, prejudices and generalisations.
In order to test this hypothesis a sample of people aged 18 and over from the Maltese population would be taken, that would lead to the examination of the attitudes and beliefs of the Maltese population through the use of a structured interview. The results have indicated that people, who favour mandatory retirement, do this in the basis of ageistic assumptions. Results also suggest that to a certain extent age, occupation and the educational level influence the perception towards mandatory retirement. Moreover, a majority of the population under study have indicated that once they reach retirement age they would like to continue working either with reduced hours or else with a part-time format.
VOLUNTEER ORGANISATIONS: THE SOCIETY OF CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE AS A CASE STUDY
HEALTH AND SAFETY AT WORK
Health and safety constitute an integral part of our society and cannot be mistreated as there might be a negative outcome of done so. The reasons why health and safety measures should be taken into account and form part of our system vary on different grounds.
In this case, the University of Malta is studied as a microcosm of Malta’s society. If health and safety measures with respect to smoking are taken seriously, many people would feel even safer and healthier in today’s already polluted world. Smoking is considered as a form of air pollution that puts society’s health at risk.
If there is serious practice going in at the University as regards to health and safety procedures it would be a good example for students, lecturers and administrative staff, who would take these measures outside the
University walls. Is it just at the University of Malta that health and safety measures are ignored? Or is it part of the Maltese culture to ignore such important matters?
The purpose of this dissertation is to study how stress is related to gender with special reference to smoking. I will try to find out whether, women smoke more when they are under pressure and are affected differently to men, due to certain biological differences between the two sexes.
A Comparative Study Between One-Earner and Dual-Earner Families with Dependent Children
One of the most striking changes after the Second World War is the increase in the number of families in which the wife works outside the home, i.e. being part of the labour market. The norm had been the traditional nuclear family, which was made up of the husband whose role was that of a breadwinner and the wife who stayed at home with the children. But throughout recent decades there has been a rapid expansion of women’s employment and this is becoming more widespread in various countries, including Malta.
This study seeks to verify or disprove the theory that gender equality is more visible in dual-earner families rather than in one-earner families. Gender equality would be studied in relation to four main issues, i.e. housework, childcare, financial management and decision taking. When compared to one-earner families, are men in dual-earner families sharing household duties and care functions? Are they stepping out of their traditional “work” role to be concerned with the “family”? Has the fact that woman goes out to work, meaning that she is economic independent, give her more power as regards financial management and decision taking?
This study aims to verify or disprove another theory, that the level of gender equality is higher amongst families living in the North than those living in the South.
Keywords o One Earner Families o Dual-Earner Families o Paid Work o Family Responsibilities
Sociology Dissertations o Housework o Childcare o Financial Management o Decision Taking
YOUNG SINGLE MOTHERS
Are They a Burden to Society?
“Young Single Mothers: Are they a burden to society?” is a research study, which aims at uncovering the following aspects:
1. The problems which unmarried mothers face in everyday life.
2. Whether they are alienated or not.
3. To analyse whether young single mothers are a burden to society.
The methodology for this study will follow the design and analysis of a questionnaire, administered personally to ten young unmarried mothers aged 16 to 24. The analysis of the semi-structured questionnaire will examine the three main criteria mentioned above. In order to achieve such aims, the methodology follows a qualitative nature. This dissertation focuses only on young unmarried mothers; thus excluding widowed, separated and divorced.
Findings show that most of the respondents are economically dependent on their family of origin and some are also dependent on the social services provide by the Ministry for Social Policy. However most of the unmarried mothers need both sources of income. Most of the informants have a low level of education and those who work earn a low salary. The highest remuneration amounts to LM5000 yearly. The results also show that single mothers who live on their own are at risk of poverty. This is because the governmental funds are not sufficient for both the mother and her child or children. Those who live on their own are also in need of material resources.
Moreover single mothers mostly are in need of social and psychological support. Young mothers who are constantly challenged in raising their child on their own are in great need of solidarity.
Analysis of Homosexuality in the Workplace
Lesbian, gay and heterosexual people have been working together successfully since the beginning of time. In spite of this lesbian and gay workers who decide to openly live their sexual orientation still face various challenges and prejudices. Lesbians and gays are not expected to be public about their homosexuality due to the
Sociology Dissertations assumption that homosexuality belongs to the private sphere. Thus they are often forced to hide their sexual identity for fear of discrimination, harassment, or job loss. Ironically enough, their own invisibility helps to reinforce the myth that lesbian and gay people do not exist in the workplace. A myth, which leads employers to deny the existence of lesbian and gay workers and in turn ignore their needs. Therefore the aim of this study is to uncover the feelings, challenges and experiences of lesbians and gays in the workplace. The researcher will also suggest ways in which today’s diverse workforce can be acknowledged and accepted.
ADOLESCENTS’ ACTIVITIES ON SATURDAY
A Sociological Study of 14/15-Year-Olds From 4 Schools in Malta
This study researches the various activities, 14/15-year-old secondary school students, do on Saturday related to education, leisure and work. These activities are further studied in relation to gender, parents’ occupation and standard of education, and the adolescent’s own past academic achievements and aspirations to post-secondary education. The aim of this exercise is to have a better picture of the way adolescents spend their free time when they are not constrained by the timetables of the educational system.
The research approach consists of a cross-sectional survey, with questionnaires distributed to 219 form IV boys and girls attending four General Secondary Schools in November 2002.
Findings in this study show that half the adolescent boys and girls do some kind of educational activity on
Saturday. These activities include computer/internet use, reading and homework, in this order. Only the very few from both sexes attend private lessons. Boys surpass girls, only in computer and Internet use, activities mostly pursued for entertainment.
With regard to leisure activities most respondents spend most of the time watching television and listening to radio programmes mostly music. Soap operas are popular with girls while boys prefer action films and using the playstation. In the evening, most of the 14/15-year-olds go out.
Most adolescent girls and boys help their mother on Saturday. Only the very few attend associations of groups to do voluntary work. Girls attend dancing and music whereas boys prefer sports associations.
In view of these findings, especially with regard to the importance given to leisure on this day, it is suggested that a policy document on education for leisure targeting adolescents’ needs is drawn up and implemented. This
Sociology Dissertations should be beneficial to all stakeholders.
Keywords o Adolescents o Gender o Saturday o Education Activities o Leisure Activities o Work Activities
MARRIED HOUSEWIVES: DO THEY HAVE ALL THE FAMILY’S RESPONSIBILITIES?
The objective of this study is to provide a sociological account of the housewife’s responsibilities at home. The study is designed to examine the housewife’s attitudes towards her real life situation. The research method used in this study is qualitative, based on case-studies.
This dissertation is divided into five chapters. While Chapter 1 will define housework and the women’s perceptions to it, Chapter 2 will outline the different theories of the housewife’s responsibilities. In Chapter 3 and Chapter 4, I will analyse my research findings. Chapter 3 will concentrate on the assessment of the housewife’s real situation. On the other hand, in Chapter 4, the women’s feelings towards their family’s responsibilities will be presented. Finally, Chapter 5 will comprise the main findings of this study. In addition, supplementary information relating to the interviews is provided in the appendices.
Sue Ellen Cachia
CHILD CARING: AN OBSTACLE TO THE PARTICIPATION OF MARRIED WOMEN IN THE MALTESE
Introduction: The females in the labour market were studied within the sociological conceptual framework and focus was placed on child rearing and its pressure on the mother to terminate employment.
The aims and objectives were: The elaboration of the hypothesis within the conceptual framework of the research has been arranged in terms of six main indicators:
• The ascribed gender of the woman and the socialisation
• The traditional family traditional mother
Sociology Dissertations theories.
• What is being done? Present and past actions and discussions taken that encourage working.
Methodology: A field study was done by conducting 90 structured interviews to working women having different educational background. These interviews were segmented in 3 clusters of women – those occupying a professional working position, those working in semi/unskilled jobs and those solely housewives. A triangulation of the research was done to strengthen the research by doing 10 in depth interviews. The age groups were varied in order to provide more a clearer picture of the actual situation. A pilot study done beforehand assisted the researcher to reconstruct the questionnaire and make adequate changes.
The researcher’s main focus of the research was to determine the respondents’ subjective opinion through their experience.
Results: Of the all the respondents, 92.2% agree that married women should go out to work and not solely be a housewife. 58.9% argued that the mother should stay at home and not be economically active. 72% of the females, which do not have children yet and occupy semi/unskilled employments, agree that they will terminate their employment when having children. Total majority of housewives 96.7% have secondary level of education.
90% of females occupying semi/unskilled occupations have secondary level of education. 86.7% of housewives and
70% of semi/unskilled think that the mother should not be economically active. 20% of professional women think that the mother should stay at home. 60% of housewives do not consider work in the near future. 83.3% of semi/unskilled women perceive employment as a means for financial assistance rather then self-fulfillment.
60.4% of all respondents do not agree that the father of the child can take care of the child as much as the mother. 90.5% of the employees who are single would not terminate their employment upon marriage. 86% of employees who are single and occupy semi/unskilled jobs would terminate their employment when having children. 72.2% agree that most females terminate employment because of child rearing.
Suggestions offered by the respondents:
• 23.3% availability of flexible hours – 61.9% of them were coming from professional occupations
• 18.9% suggested more childcare centres
• 23.3% suggested women should work part-time – 52.4% were housewives, 42.9% were semi/unskilled occupations
• 2.2% more opportunities
• 3.3% husband participate more in child rearing
• 28.9% did not offer suggestions
Recommendations: the proposals that were mentioned after concluding this research included the need of more childcare centres equipped with safety standards.
More educational courses should be organised which would assist the women who had terminated their employment for a number of years to update her skills such as in computer skills. Furthermore, the women should be given more information and opportunity at work such as being offered flexible hours, reduced hours and whenever possible offering work at her home.
The need for more information about childcare centres in clearly needed since the respondents seem to have a rather negative perspective of these centres.
LIVING DOUBLE LIVES:
Mobility, Integration and Adaptation Among Sindhi Women Living in Malta
This dissertation is a sociological inquiry about transnationality. It gives a deep insight of the consequences and changes that mobility brings about to Sindhi women who left their home country in order to follow their husband in a new land with a different culture. Eight in-depth interviews were conducted with Sindhi women for this study. These interviews cover a vast range of topics related to the life of these women. The aim of this study is to give space and voice to these women’s feelings and reasoning in relation to preparation, the transition and their adaptation to another culture. Findings show how Sindhi women were brought up and their socialization process in relation to the transition period. This phase is important to them as it affects their way of adapting themselves in their role as wives in a different culture, while at the same time maintaining their identity. The importance of this study is that although it focuses entirely on the perspective of Sindhi women in relation to the phenomenon of transnationality, it can also be applied to other communities.
2002 – 2005
A SOCIOLOGICAL STUDY OF ABUSE
Eleven Case Studies of Abused Women
The aim of this dissertation is manly to explore some aspects of the problem of abuse. This study undertakes eleven case studies of abused women. This work first looks at different theoretical approaches but the focus is on the sociological approach. This study looks at some personal demographics of the respondents and of the perpetrators of abuse. However, this dissertation is specifically concerned with different forms of abuse and possible reasons why this happens and is concentrated on those women who have opted to come forward in one way or another to look for assistance. Due to space and time this study is limited to male-to-female abuse in an intimate relationship. Therefore, there is no reference to abuse on children, abuse on the elderly, sibling abuse, female-to-male abuse, female-to-female abuse in lesbian relationships and male-to-male abuse in gay relationships. My dissertation excludes also battered women who never left their abusive husband/partner.
The results of this study show that in Malta abused women: need not necessarily be married, come from all over
Malta and Gozo, most of them do not have more than a secondary level of education, do not work and are dependent on their husband/partner, have financial problems, were not abused in childhood, and are mostly hurt by emotional abuse. All of them, however, live in the fear of being abused again in future. Most of the perpetrators were not abused in childhood, do not have more than a secondary level of education, do not have satisfying jobs, are violent not only with their wives/partners but also with family members and other persons and engage in criminal behaviour.
CAN DISABLED PEOPLE USE INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY AS A TOOL, TO IMPROVE THEIR SOCIAL
Disabled people have been historically considered as non-potential beings, hence a burden on the state. This dissertation is meant to show that when disabled people are given the chance to participate and are offered the aid to participate on equal footing, with the other members of society, they take the opportunity and exploit it, both for their own benefit and for the benefit of society as a whole.
This dissertation focuses on how an information technology era, disabled people can be brought into equal lines with the “normal! Members of society, with the help of technology itself. This dissertation takes into consideration, the role of social policy in facilitating this process.
The literature review discusses a variety of themes in connection with the topic at hand. The information gathered from fourteen interviews with disabled people, who use information technology, supports some of the
Sociology Dissertations theories discussed in the literature review. Since the role of the state is recognised, I conducted an interview with Dr. Lawrence Gonzi, Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister responsible for Social Policy.
The major limitation of this dissertation is that it does not show the difference between the disabled people who use information technology and those who do not. Its major aim is to offer a solution to all the disabled people who would like to improve their situation, both in personal and social terms.
TURNING TO BUDDHISM
This study is based on Durkheim’s view that religion is never completely abolished, only changed in its nature.
But Durkheim allocated only one function to religion, that of uniting people. Wilson’s concept of a ‘personal religion’ (1982) shows how religion has progressed from serving a communal function to serving a personal function. This study is also based on such an assumption.
As Durkheim based himself on feelings, such as the feeling of belonging, I have also based myself on feelings, on the feelings of my respondents. Through the life histories of the five respondents I have gathered information on the lives and experiences of these people who have chosen to turn to Buddhism. Such experiences and feelings have shown how they have changed their cultural religion (Durkheim) and how religion for them serves a personal function and that they also consider religion as being an individual phenomenon and not a social one
MALTESE ‘MIGRANTS’ IN GOZO
The island of Gozo, the second largest in the Maltese archipelago, separated from Malta by a small channel, has always been regarded as a second home by the inhabitants of the larger island Malta. However, in this dissertation, I will go further than this and I will study a kind of internal migration whereby Maltese people come and live permanently in Gozo. The primary aim of this dissertation is to study the patterns of these
Maltese ‘migrants’ living in Gozo. Using semi-structured personal interviews administered to a simple random sample of 100 Maltese ‘migrants’ residing in Gozo, I will investigate the hypothesis that they come to live in Gozo
Sociology Dissertations either because of their partner’s family ties in the Gozitan culture and / or because they themselves are attracted by the comfortable and slower rhythm of life in Gozo. In particular this study will try to establish whether the
Maltese living in Gozo have assimilated well within the Gozitan social structure.
WORKING IN THE HOTEL AND CATERING INDUSTRY:
A Sociological Analysis
The hotel and catering industry is making an increasing contribution to total employment in Malta. Its importance can therefore hardly be doubted. The objective of this study is to provide a sociological account of working life within the hotel and catering industry. For the purpose of this dissertation I undertook a case study at a local four-star hotel. In my field research I focused my attention on the beverage department of this hotel.
The study was designed to examine social and behavioural traits at work, and more specifically relationships at work. This study is an attempt at voicing some of the workers’ feelings and experiences. The research method used in this study is qualitative, based on interviews and participant observation.
This dissertation is divided into five chapters. The first chapter introduces the sociology of work and industry, takes a look at labour market trends, and analyses the role of the tourist sector in Malta’s economy. Chapter two reviews the research literature dealing with the hotel and catering industry. The third chapter explains the process and procedure of my field research, and chapter four analyses the data gained through the interviews and participant observation. Finally chapter five, compares my findings with those of other researchers quoted in the literature review. In addition, supplementary information relating to the interviews is provided in the appendices.
DOES THE MEDIA CREATE OR REJECT AN AGEISTIC IMAGE OF OLDER PERSONS?
This research focuses on the media in relation to older adults. It seeks to establish whether the media creates or rejects an ageistic image of older adults. The researcher’s man aim is in providing a better understanding of the underlying meanings transmitted through media.
The first chapter introduces ageing as a phenomenon by highlighting various issues related to it. This is followed
Sociology Dissertations by the literature review, which highlights major theoretical approaches, which have influenced the understanding of age and ageing. The methodology, gives an overview of content analysis – the method which was applied in this research, discussing both its quantitative techniques and qualitative aspects. Categories considered in this study included frequency of appearance of older adults, gender, age, role, occupation, setting, family role and product.
The final chapter is the discussion and concluding remarks following the results. It was concluded that the media does not discriminate against certain age groups. The lack of older adults in the media suggests their marginal societal role. Moreover, males were represented more than females. However, the researcher does not believe that older adults are depicted in an overwhelmingly negative way.
THE CHANGING FACE OF ORGANISED RELIGION:
Comparing Modern Religious Movements in Gozo
‘THE THIRD WAY TO PENSIONS’
One of the most significant phenomena of the 20 th
century has been the dramatic increase in the proportion of persons aged sixty and over. This means that the world is today experiencing an aging population, whereby the population is moving from high fertility and mortality rates to low fertility and mortality rates. This study sets out to examine the fiscal and social implications of the population aging in the context of present public pensions arrangements, with particular reference to the major industrial countries, including Malta. Chapter 1, confirms and presents statistical evidence provided by Janet H. Clark (1994) and the World Bank (1994), that under the existing public pension arrangements, which rely on PAYG schemes, the aging of the population has started to contribute to serious fiscal stress in most of the major industrial countries, and that these are likely to get much worst over the next few decades in the absence of appropriate reforms. Despite to some critics such as Dean
Baker, Mark Weisbrot and Phil Mullan (2000), who retain that this crisis is only an invention of people with personal interests in private schemes, there is the general agreement that pensions’ crisis is real and the public pensions schemes should be reformed.
Fortunately, there is still a window of opportunity for most of the industrial countries, as full impact of aging problem is not likely to be felt another 15 years or so. This means that there is still time to reform. In fact much of the countries referred to in Chapter 2, have already taken this path. Yet the reforms being suggested or adopted are very often too much oriented towards solving fiscal perplexities. They hardly measure or consider the impact they are to leave on society. This is where the ‘third way’ (Lawrence, 1988 and Giddens, 1998) comes in. This is a new way in politics that goes beyond left and right and attempts to satisfy social needs more than suggesting fiscal reforms. Whilst proposing pension reforms, the ‘third way’ would be aware that pensions issues stretch mute broadly than the question of who should pay at what level and by what means. In a world that is less concerned with economic growth and consumerism and more interested in the possibility of having freedom of expression, social autonomy and a better quality of life (Inglehart, 1990), governments should not limit themselves to reform the system only economically. This applies also for the local situation, discussed in Chapter
3. From a document analysis of the two major reports published recently about pension reforms in Malta – the
Interim and the GWU Report. And two interviews with Dr. L. Gonzi and Mr. M. Cutajar – it resulted in Chapter
4 & 5, that Maltese reformers (especially the GWU) stand far from adopting the ‘third way’ and like the rest of the world focus more on fiscal reforms rather than on satisfying social desires. Perhaps, this happens because in
Malta the economic development still places as a priority for both the government and the population. Moreover the innate political polarization within the Maltese character makes it more difficult to accept fully the ‘third way’. Hence in conclusion, I chose to come out with possible solutions that could accomplish both what the
Maltese government, in particular, is after and some of the ‘third way’ proposals. In other words, in this study I tried to flex the ‘third way’ to accommodate our local needs and trends!!
THE MADONNA AND THE GODDESS – A COMPARATIVE STUDY OF CONTEMPORARY RELIGIOUS
PILGRIMAGES ON THE ISLAND OF GOZO
The study of pilgrimage in contemporary society raises themes that are as relevant to the sociology of tourism as they are to that of religion. The research presented in this thesis was carried out in terms of a theoretical hypothesis that highlighted the importance of a comparative and contextual approach to the study of pilgrimages. This approach pays attention to the differences between various types of pilgrimages and uses these differences as a means to gain a deeper understanding of the relationship between differing religious
Sociology Dissertations beliefs/rituals and the various social groups that participate in them. Particular stress is also laid on the manner in which underlying power-relations structure the encounter between tourists and locals. It is argued that studies of such tourist/local interaction give an added dimension to our understanding of pilgrimage in
This approach is here applied to the study of various pilgrimages, which have the island of Gozo as their ultimate destination. In particular, attention is focused on two sites:
Ta’ Pinu and
. While the former is often locally perceived as a world-renowned pilgrimage site, it is hardly known outside the Maltese islands. By contrast, Ggantija is not locally regarded as having a deep religious significance; yet members of the international Goddess movement, who organise regular excursions to it, consider it as a sacred place. By means of careful sociological investigation, it is shown how Ta’ Pinu us actually the focus of three, analytically distinct, pilgrimages’ each of which tells us a lot about the particular social group that engages in it. thus, the Gozitan pilgrimage reflects the continued importance of traditional family-centred culture, Catholic religious beliefs and local pride and identity. The Maltese pilgrimage reveals an effort to create a pilgrimage in a society where geographical and social distance is a scarce commodity. Most significant of all is the tourist “pilgrimage” to
, which shows how Gozitans attempt to script tourists as pilgrims while the latter resist these attempts and strive to construct a detached tourist identity, which sees local culture as a spectacle. A radical contrast is provided by the Goddess pilgrims to
, who construct their pilgrimage in the face of the distrust and indifference of the locals. The pilgrimage conducted by the Goddess devotees reflects an emphasis on self-healing and empowerment, which reflects characteristic traits of other New Age religious movements, while refusing to acknowledge a source of sacred power located in a being external to the self.
Having explored the differences between these pilgrimages, I then conclude by reflecting on the relationship between the various social groups involved and how this informs us on the nature of Gozitan society and the interactions between Gozitans and the external world.
DRUG ABUSE AS A CAREER
This dissertation explores the drug abuse career of a sample of Maltese drug abusers. Here the concept of career is being used to investigate the development of their abuse. The main theoretical approaches that inform this study are the symbolic interactionist and labelling approaches characterized by the work of Becker and Lemert and the social learning approach characterized by the work of Sutherland. Through the use of qualitative research methods of data collection, the empirical work focuses on the search for contingencies that make the
Sociology Dissertations initiation, escalation and desistance phases in drug using career, more of less possible. This dissertation seeks to understand the implications of societal reaction from the family, local community and from the formal agents of control, the role of differential association, social learning, and commitment to drug abuse and changes in the self-concept as influences for the development of a career of drug abuse. Different contingencies were identified as contributing to the progression of the career that operate to different degrees in the different career patterns identified.
TOURIST DEVELOPMENT IN GOZO
Resident Attitudes and Reactions
The primary aim of this dissertation is to examine the premise of there being an inverse relationship between the level of tourist development in Gozo and the perceived impacts for the worse on the economic, environmental and socio-cultural status of the host community. Using structured personal interviews administered to Gozitans residing in areas of high and low tourist density and development, I will investigate the contention that the areas that are obliged to enter into intensive contact with tourists will exhibit growing hostility and resistance whereas those relatively secluded from the “invading hordes” still hold welcoming and cordial attitudes. The findings of this research do not confirm the above hypothesis: the residents who are most exposed to tourists have a more positive perception of the economic, environmental, and socio-cultural impacts of tourist development in Gozo than the residents who are sheltered from tourist attention. I propose that residents’ attitudes to tourism are not only influenced by the level of exposure to tourism, but also by such factors as the residents’ extent of adherence to a traditional mode of life, their educational achievement, and extent of holiday travel engaged in by the residents.
SOCIAL ATTITUDES TOWARDS THE ENVIRONMENT OF GOZO:
The Perceptions and Concerns of Three Localities
Environmental Sociology has much to contribute to our understanding of the environment, and many prominent theorists in Sociology have emphasised that ecological issues are social issues as well. The environment concerns each and every one of us. We are all faced with environmental pollution in most aspects of our day to day living.
The environment in the Maltese Islands has been neglected for far too long, and now pressure is being made by residents of Malta and Gozo, as well as by international bodies, for action to be taken. There is an urgent need for sustainable development to be put into action. The dominant issue concerning the Maltese Islands today is that of waste management. Current trends in waste disposal have been recognised to be unsustainable, and a waste management plan has been drawn up. There is still a lot of work to be done in the waste field, and for any sustainable policy to be successful it first requires careful planning and consideration. There is a strong need for environmental education, and this needs to be the first step. People in the Maltese Islands need to become fully aware of the harm being done to the environment due to current trends in waste disposal. They will not support a policy aimed at solving what they do not perceive to be a problem.
This study is focused on three localities in Gozo. Apart from giving an overview of the waste management issue in Malta and also on the European level, this study attempts to voice peoples’ attitudes and concerns, and to reveal what action they agree with and are willing to take. It was found that people are concerned about their environment, and that they are demanding better environmental standards. The environmental problems existing in the Maltese Islands can be overcome, but only with careful planning and collective action by all societal groups.
THE INFLUENCE OF RELIGIOUS VALUES ON THE MARITAL BOND IN THE MALTESE ISLANDS
Malta has always been a conservative society with strong moral values that were strengthened by the Church and these values were passed from one generation to the next through the family. our Christian values have been the backbone of the Maltese family for a long time now. Nowadays, however, these values seem only an extension of our daily lives. It seems as if religion is not playing an important role in our lives as it did for the past generations.
The channelling of new ideas and morals through the media has had its toll in the Maltese Islands. New ideas such as self-satisfaction and individualism are starting to replace values of sacrifice and altruism.
What seems to come out of the study is that religion did indeed loose some of the influence it had on the Maltese people. However, this does not mean that today people do not have time for God. People are increasingly considering religion as only having influence on just particular areas of their life. Religion is becoming more of a spiritual guidance, which does not necessarily enter all spheres of our lives.
WORKERS THAT DO NOT JOIN TRADE UNIONS... WHY?
Rebecca M. Gatt
2000 – 2003
WOMEN AND TRADE UNIONS
A Sociological Perspective
In spite of the continuous active role of women in the labour market and an increase of female labour supply in several countries, women trade union membership is still low when compared to that of men. Furthermore women seldom hold important decision-making posts within trade unions.
The scope of this study is to give a sociological account of the reasons and barriers tied to women trade union membership and participation. Apart from giving information about women trade union membership in various countries, the study focuses in Maltese women and their participation in trade unions. This information is supplemented by a survey consisting of questionnaires distributed to randomly selected Maltese speaking females who have different occupations and a number of focused interviews with women occupying decisionmaking posts within a selected number of unions.
This dissertation is divided into five chapters. The 1 st
chapter gives an outline of the history of trade unions in
Malta since the 19 th
century and Maltese women trade union participation throughout the years. Chapter two gives an analysis of statistics about women trade union membership in various countries, the number of women occupying top posts within the trade unions and women friendly structures that are being included in trade unions. The third chapter deals with the reasons and barriers tied to women trade union participation. These are classified into three main groups: work related, union related and cultural-societal-personal factors. Chapter four analyses the data collected by the questionnaire and the information received from the focused interviews.
Finally the conclusion sums up the research findings and compares them with the information gathered in the previous chapters. In addition several appendices relating to the questionnaire and the focused interviews are supplemented.
HOUSING AND LONE MOTHERS
A Study of Housing Authority Issues 1996-1999
This study focuses on some aspects of housing policy. It first takes a comparative glance at some policies in different countries. The notion of globalization is becoming an ever-increasing reality and thus it is important to view the historical and political reasons that have shaped various policies across the globe.
The central focus of this study is women and more specifically lone mothers. Chapter 2 thus looks at the structures that have shaped much of social policy. These come in the guise of the patriarchal division of labour and the family wage, two aspects that have meant that women have traditionally been excluded from the labour market.
Chapter 3 analyzes the six latest schemes, referred to as ‘issues’, offered by the Housing Authority. I had long thought about the best way to locate the problems associated with distribution. I had originally thought of carrying out in-depth interviews with potential clients of the Housing Authority. Later, however, I thought that a better way would be to analyze some of the large amount of already existing data. I also included some data that has not been published yet but was made available to me by the Authority. This data is particularly indicative of the fact that lone parents fare worse than any other category. The tables indicate the number of applicants for each issue, the number of units allocated and more importantly, the number of units that would have been allocated had the Authority not devised its system of categories. The results clearly show that lone parents, the majority of whom are women, are not benefitting from such a system.
The final chapter includes recommendations and suggestions for the system to have more distributive justice.
PRIVATISATION AND THE SOCIAL CONSTRUCTION OF NEW LABOUR
This study analyses the history of privatisation in Malta in terms of discursive practices. The policies of
Sociology Dissertations nationalisation undertaken by Mintoff’s government are taken as the starting point for the proliferation of discourses that finally led to the dominance of the discourse of the private from the mid eighties onwards, and to the institutionalisation of New Labour. The theory of the social construction of reality is used to analyse the techniques of legitimation, objectivation and reification of policies and concepts such as globalisation, efficiency, private rights and privatisation, as well as the institutionalisation of New Labour itself and the de-reification of
Old Labour. A post-structuralist historical approach from the Foucauldian perspective is adopted to analyse the shifts in discourse at particular moments. Foucault’s “repressive hypothesis”, “the speaker’s benefit” and his positive definition of power are also used to explain the rise of one discourse over another, namely the discourse of the private over the discourse of the public. The study concludes with an analysis of the present hegemonic situation, in which the discourse of the private is at its peak but with little competition whatsoever from other potentially critical discourses.
RELIGION IN MALTA: FUNCTIONAL TO SOCIETY OR TO THE INDIVIDUAL?
Religion has often been a principle focus of sociological discourse, especially in attempting to analyse society. It has been adopted as a subject matter for investigation by an innumerable number of sociologists and was for many a recurrent or consistent focus.
The dawn of man as a hunter-gatherer saw the beginnings of an ability to communicate through language and an increase in the complexity of the social structure. Evidence of religious beliefs, ritual behaviour and artistic expression date back to this time.
The larger part of Classical and Modern sociology of religion concerns itself with the connection between social organisation and religion since the complexity of social organisation seems to have proceeded at the rate at which religious complexity developed. Much sociological writings argue that religion must be seen in teleological terms: society requires certain social structures or institutions to reach certain ends. Thus society creates or causes to be created such institutions or structures. This relates to religion in that a few sociologists content that religion is required for society to reach achieve certain goals and therefore cause it to exist and persist. religion.”
– Bellah, 1973, p. 191 excerpt from
The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life
THE MALTESE TOURISTS IN TIMES OF CHANGE
“GENDER INEQUALITIES IN EDUCATION”
Education is simply one aspect of socialisation. It involves the acquisition of knowledge and the learning of skills.
The role of education is therefore a crucial one. Young generations of individuals need to be trained and educated for society to function normally, since it is the young generations that will become the future citizens of society.
Inequalities present in or produced by the educational system have always been a main issue, and the gender inequalities in education have been the focus of much discourse. Some argue that inequalities between the two sexes are generated by the system itself. Some argue that the system needs to provide a work force with a high division of labour, and therefore trains individual to accept certain inequalities. Others argue that inequalities are created and pertained by teachers themselves, while others attribute much of the inequalities to parents themselves. Schools have become very much certificate oriented and children, as early as primary schools, are being taught how to pass exams. Children who do not pass to Junior Lyceum are many a time declared a failure, and the child retreats him / herself and assumes that he / she is a failure.
In this dissertation, the views of the functionalists Emile Durkheim and Talcott Parsons, together with the
Marxist views of Karl Marx, Freidrich Engels and those of modern conflict theorists are discussed. Other perspectives discussed, are the Liberal Feminism, Marxist and Socialist feminism and Radical feminism. The role of education and its effects on social change and effects of social change on education are also discussed. A statistical profile on Maltese education is presented in Chapter 4, and a case study of a traditional Maltese village, Safi, which is situated in the south of Malta, has been conducted.
ACHIEVEMENT THROUGH EDUCATION:
A Common Culture of Maltese Adolscents?
THE CHANGES IN THE MALTESE POLITICAL CULTURE
The causes which led to the emergence of a political culture in Malta are various. National identity played an important part in uniting the political parties and mobilising them into action to obtain democracy.
After describing different theories concerning social change and culture, an attempt is made to understand particular historical events. The granting of a constitution in the 1920s led to the emergence of the first political parties and a fragmented political culture.
It will be argued that through the use of different political ideologies, there have been rapid changes in the political and cultural sphere. These have led to the emergence of a political integrated culture. This was a major change, because in the past, the Maltese had always fought against each other. This unification brought about the formation of the Maltese Nation.
JUST FOR WAGES?
Working Life in a Textile Factory
The research problem dealt with in this dissertation concerns the orientation to work of Maltese textile factory workers. The hypothesis analyzed in this work is that Maltese textile factory workers have an instrumental orientation to work. It is also suggested that this instrumental orientation is an effect of alienation.
The theoretical framework of this study refers to both “Marxian” and “Weberian” sociology. Accordingly, while this study focuses on Marx’s insights on the phenomena of alienation, a consideration of Goldthorpe and
Lockwood’s concept of instrumental orientation to work is also made. In more concrete terms, the concept of alienation was operationalized in the light of Blauner’s seminal work
Alienation and Freedom
(1964). This study also gives weight to the works of two distinguished Maltese sociologists, namely Professor Edward L. Zammit and Dr. Anthony M. Abela.
The methodological techniques adopted in this study were (1) a questionnaire which was administered to a sample of shopfloor workers in a factory producing schoolbags, pencil-cases, and school accessories, and (2) a number of interviews with learned personalities.
This dissertation is divided into five chapters. Chapter one
represents an introduction to what follows by making a critical analyses of changing world of work, the state of Malta’s economy, and the role of the textile industry in the development of Malta. Chapter two
gives a wide literature review of the concepts of alienation and instrumental orientation to work. Chapter
describes the methodological techniques used in this study. four
is an analysis of the data collected by the questionnaire. Finally, chapter five
makes a concluding synthesis of the outcomes of this dissertation. In addition to this material, several appendices relating to the questionnaire and the transcripts of the interviews are supplemented.
This dissertation deals with the relationship between the State and land developers with reference to the development of the Hilton Redevelopment Project in Malta.
The study will show how the State and the land developers formed part of a power bloc through which both stood to gain from the exploitation of land. The State benefited through the generation of economic growth, while the land developers legitimated their material gain through the State Apparatus.
The research methodology used in this dissertation is a historical one, based on documentary research and fieldwork.
The dissertation uses a neo-Marxist class-centric theoretical approach, with reference to the development of capitalism in Malta in general and the Hilton Redevelopment Project in particular.
MALTESE MANAGEMENT CULTURE
A Case Study of a Public Limited Company Applying a Grounded Theory Approach
The management culture of a public limited company was explored applying a grounded theory approach. This case consisted of five General Managers as participants, as well as, two senior executives who acted as
‘respondent validators’. Each participant was interviewed on two occasions. Twenty nine open codes emerged and provided the foundation for five axial codes. The resulting fragmentation of the axial codes generated an analysis of the symbols, rituals and values of the management culture in practice. It was proposed that Maltese management culture is a hybrid of traditional Maltese work orientations and traditional Western management thought. Moreover Maltese management culture lends itself to the creation of detached in-groups. At a generalised level Maltese managers tend to be status seekers. Further research is suggested into organisational subcultures vis-a-vis the management culture in use and into the effects of such a management culture on the development of an organisation.
MARRIAGE BREAKDOWN, MARRIAGE FAILURE AND DIVORCE
‘THE PLEASURE FACTORY’
A Study of Commercial Leisure Among Contemporary Maltese Youth
The amount of leisure time available to young people, and how they use it, are important factors in personality development. Availability and use of leisure time are a central aspect of contemporary youth in the Maltese islands. For Maltese youth, leisure time has become a primary indicator of quality life, and a sphere free from the values and he normative demands of society. Moreover, there is a general preoccupation that some leisure patterns among youth are not serving to their education and development towards maturity. On the contrary, some believe that this type of leisure might also be hazardous to their health on both physical and psychological levels.
Indeed, the leisure industry plays no small part in the supply of leisure. However, it seems to be obvious (in
Malta) that youths are channelled, or themselves stream into distinct patterns in their leisure activities.
Circumstances may arise independently of youth’s volition which prevents them from picking and choosing particular venues. In fact, one of the main arguments in this work, refers to the implementation of the R.O.A.R.
(Right of Admission Reserved) Principle by some clubs, which excludes particular categories of youth from having access to the particular venues. Indeed, this is where the theory of the ‘three Categories and Exceptions’ of Maltese Youth culture, come into being in this work.
Therefore, it follows that one has to identify the different youth categories, together with: the criteria of
Their leisure activities are selected. In this analysis of youth culture in Malta, one can come to the conclusion of how the leisure industry is influenced by youth culture, and in turn, of how the former markets to its clients’ satisfaction. In observing the leisure patterns, I concluded that leisure is not a distinct institution, but it is rather subject to change and is affected by youth culture.
Bernard A. Zarb
PREJUDICE IN MALTESE NOVELS
A Sociological Analysis
Appling a qualitative content-analysis methodology, this dissertation provides a sociological attempt to prove a hypothetical assumption that the basis for prejudice in Malta towards the outsider emerges from four main factors; the strong Catholic tradition within the island, the historical heritage, class distinctions and the low levels of education.
The theoretical part of the present dissertation embraces a major theory regarding the nature of prejudice, its origins and the main factors that contribute to the development of such phenomena. Basically, it defines prejudice as a negative orientation which besets so many societies in the world and which is directed towards a social group or a perceived member of that group. Since eight novels taken from Maltese literature (covering a sixty-year period between 1889 and 1950) were used to prove the above mentioned hypothesis, it was necessary to include a theoretical perspective about the relationship between literature and society. However, this work is in no way another contribution to the sociology of literature: it only makes use of literature since the latter often mirrors social relations and social structure of an given community. The main concern behind this work is the basis of prejudice in Malta, which often results in a series of hostile intergroup relations.
The sociological analysis reveals that the hypothesis holds true. By way of conclusion, it was argued that although the process of post-war secularization in Malta allowed space for changes to occur, both in the factors at the basis of prejudice and also in the targets towards which such prejudices are directed, on the other hand, the phenomenon of prejudice towards the outsider remains essentially ingrained within the Maltese society.
11 YEARS AFTER...
THE FAMILY’S INFLUENCE ON THE PROCESS OF SOCIOECONOMIC STATUS ATTAINMENT AND
The family environment is viewed as a key factor influencing the individual’s process of socioeconomic status attainment and subsequent occupational mobility.
This hypotheses was tested on a group of 56 male ‘average achievers’ who 11 years ago were fifth formers at the
“Liceo Vassalli” (Junior Lyceum ‘Tal-Handaq’ – scholastic year 1985/ 86). Once educational attainment at secondary level was held constant, this 11 year process of socioeconomic status attainment and occupational mobility was analysed and reconstructed through ‘path analysis’.
Results confirmed that the family environment influenced considerably the socioeconomic status’ variables, i.e., current occupational prestige, current income and level of educational attainment. However socioeconomic status was mainly predicted by the respondent’s occupation.
The sample was generally upwardly mobile; 12% had experienced ‘perfect upward mobility’, having moved up from the working class to the service class. Most respondents opted for occupations which were higher up the
Sociology Dissertations social scale, but similar to their fathers’ occupations. Occupational mobility was predicted mainly by the level of education attained. In fact 90% of the ‘average achievers’ had continued studying.
Thus the aspirations of the working class students (70% of the sample) materialised themselves through the schooling opportunities created with the setting up of the ‘Tal-Handaq’ Junior Lyceum.
POLITICAL MOBILISATION AND SOCIAL CHANGE: DOM MINTOFF’S ROLE IN POST-WAR MALTA
The causes which have accelerated the process of social change in post-war Malta are various. Political leadership played no small part in drilling in new ideas and mobilising the masses into action to obtain a new social order.
After describing different theories of social change and political mobilisation, an attempt is made to analyse and understand particular historical events. The conditions of obtaining in post-war Malta were conductive to the emergence of a context which made the development of a charismatic style of leadership possible.
It will be argued that this charismatic type of leadership was a main agent of change and that to affect this change a two-pronged strategy was adopted: the creation of a millenarian milieu and the political mobilisation of the masses. This was a major break since the Maltese had not hitherto been accustomed to a strong local leadership, because since time immemorial they had relied on decisions taken by foreign powers.
The focus is on Dom Mintoff’s leadership which was instrumental in breaking the established normative order and in declaring this break to be morally legitimate. It will also be argued that the masses were mobilised – through a millenarian promise and charismatic leadership – into an effective political force and were thus capable of affecting social change.
TOURIST MOTIVATIONS, SATISFACTION AND LEISURE PATTERNS
A Case Study of Tourism in Gozo
In this dissertation, in the context of the importance which leisure and tourism gained in the twentieth century, especially since the post second world war period, tourist motivations, satisfaction and leisure patterns are analysed against Gozo’s tourist product. The data war primarily obtained through questionnaires and personal interviews.
It is argued that the choice of a tourist destination depends primarily on the tourists’ more general motive for taking a holiday. Another major finding is that while on holiday, tourists exhibit some changes in their leisure patterns. This implies that travelling to a foreign place is characterised by a search for something different.
Another observation is that the tourists’ profile has little or no effect on leisure patterns at the destination, instead these patterns depend on the destination’s major attractions and leisure amenities.
A further consideration is that tourist satisfaction is the outcome of the tourist product at the destination, the tourists’ expectations and the adaptive behaviour of tourists. The high level of satisfaction achieved by the tourists and the hospitality offered by the Gozitans indicate that, in Gozo, there is a ‘consonance’ between
‘guests’ and ‘hosts’.
This study concludes that tourists visiting Gozo are in search of a specific type of relaxation, namely a quiet natural environment, and that they also show a special interest in Gozo’s culture. Any change in these characteristics will have a negative effect on tourism.
SOCIAL SIGNIFICANCE OF HIV AND AIDS
The Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) which may lead to the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome
(AIDS) is a new, fatal and incurable disease. Infected persons suffer both physically and socially. This disease is also closely related to sexual activity.
At first, the “plague” was considered to be a gay disease and heterosexuals seemed to be protected from it. But in due time the world began to realise that homosexuals donated blood, lived a dull sexual life sometimes with both sexes, and therefore they were putting other people’s lives at risk. Infected blood products have almost decreased due to screening and testing of blood.
This study reports in a sociological perspective the people’s attitudes towards HIV and AIDS patients. This research focused on the changing spiritually of an HIV positive person, and the caring attitudes of Churchattending persons. The former becomes very vulnerable to other people’s reactions. The study reports the lived experiences of a Maltese HIV positive person. The main source of information was achieved through the administration of a semi-structured interview. The case study of the attitudes, feelings and behaviour of Maltese
HIV positive male compares favourably with findings from studies of infected persons in other countries.
The study concludes that HIV positive persons are human beings in need of love and acceptance in society. HIV and AIDS positive persons are not only suffering from a physical and painful disease but are being put under emotional stress. People in society are expected to help ameliorate the remaining few months or years of
HIV/AIDS sufferers. This should not be done only in a medical way but also socially.
MARRIED WOMEN IN FULL-TIME, PROFESSIONAL AND SKILLED OCCUPATIONS IN MALTA
The following dissertation shall focus on the subject of married working women in the labour market in Malta.
These women are occupied in the medical profession, in architecture, teaching and banking. Two women for each occupation have been selected to approach this phenomenon from the Life Cycle perspective. Therefore, there are four young women between 25 and 30 years of age. Four older women whose age varies between 42 and 58 comprise the older age category. In addition to this, feminist literature has been sued to assist the interpretation of the data collected. A qualitative research method was used to investigate the views and experiences of the women in question. The data is derived from the language embedded within the informants’ definition of their situation. This situated vocabulary acts as an indicator of the various dynamic elements that make up this phenomenon. The findings in this research convey that women and men are still trying to find the ‘right’ balance between family and work. They also emphasize that this issue is extremely complicated. Yet, it most definitely deals with the economic superstructure, the interaction between men and women within the domestic and public modes of production and the woman’s life cycle.
AN INDUCTIVE APPROACH TO SOCIAL CLASS ANALYSIS IN CONTEMPORARY MALTA:
A Case Study
Daniel Ellul Sullivan
FACTORS INFLUENCING POLITICAL PARTICIPATION IN MALTA
Political systems are a universal phenomenon. In all societies, there is a political system, whether simple or complex, which regulates the relationships within that society. All the members of society come in contact with this system and interact with it. However, not all members engage in the political system and interact with it.
However, not all members engage in the political system to the same degree.
In this study, after describing the different levels of political participation, an attempt is made to discover what are the possible factors that lead to high levels of political participation. This was done through a survey which was conducted amongst Maltese Members of Parliament, as Malta’s most politically active group. The aim of this survey was to find out whether there are common characteristics between these Members of Parliament and which were influential in their level of participation in politics.
PERCEPTIONS OF CLASS AMONG UNIVERISTY STUDENTS
THE ELDERLY AS A RESOURCE
THE CULTURE OF LOYALTY
A Sociological Investigation of Hospitality Practices
This dissertation focuses on practices targeted at the achievement of excellence and efficiency within organisations. All types of organisations, whether profitable, voluntary or institutional are characterised by aims and goals. Yet organisations are made up of different individuals. These individuals have specific roles within the organisation that are contributing to the organisation’s benefit. Nonetheless, to a certain extent, human beings will always differ from each other in some way or another. Such differences might obstruct the achievement of organisational goals. Management style has a principal part in this, in terms of how the particular organisation succeeds in fulfilling its purposes, in spite of the possible diversity of interests of its members. As a result, the management of any organisation adopts mechanisms and practices that give direction in the daily running of the organisation, and that are aimed at the achievement of organisational goals.
The central hypothesis of this dissertation is that one way to reconcile individual and organisational interests in an efficient and long-term manner is by socialising members into a culture of loyalty. The concept of culture fives a sense of belonging, and therefore the members internalise, through the socialisation proves, the same objectives of the organisation. The element of loyalty is important in terms of how much the members stick to these objectives, for how long and to what extent. The concept of culture also implies an element of transmission of values, norms and practices (amongst other cultural components). This is important for the organisation’s survival, in that it does not depend on particular incumbents of positions, but on loyalty towards the organisation in generic terms.
This hypothesis is tested within the hospitality industry, particularly within a local five star resort. Both the
Sociology Dissertations management style and the response of individual members to management techniques are taken in analysis so as to evaluate the degree of coherence between the two. Such coherence would reveal adherence to something that foes beyond individuals involved at all levels of an organisation, both managerial and non-managerial. In other words, the reconciliation of individual interests and a common focus on organisational goals prove the internalisation of a culture of loyalty towards the organisation. As a result, the excellence and efficiency of the organisation are enhanced.
SOCIAL SUPPORT AMONG FAMILY CAREGIVERS OF ELDERLY PERSONS IN GOZO
Social capital, from a network-based approach, refers to the networks of social relations. Social networks are key mechanisms that facilitate access to social resources. One resource, fundamental to human nature, is social support. Social support, as a derivative of social capital, is believed to promote better health conditions and general well-being. A large multidisciplinary literature has highlighted how social support within network relations serves to buffer individuals from stressful outcomes.
This dissertation examines the relationship between the levels of social capital, stress, and social support among family caregivers of dependent older persons in Gozo by analysing whether high levels of social capital contribute to low levels of stress. This study was achieved using the qualitative, intrinsic case study method, whereby data was collected by means of in-depth interviews with family caregivers of older dependent persons. Interviews with older persons receiving informal care and with representatives of formal support services, such as representatives of the Department for Customer Services, the Social Security Department, and from Non-
Governmental Organisations that work with older persons in Gozo, were also carried out in order to further understand the experiences of family caregivers.
This study strongly supports the relationship between social capital, stress, and social support. The main conclusion that emerged from the general data collection was that family caregivers surrounded by high levels of formal and informal social capital and social support experience low levels of stress in their caregiving.
WOMEN IN THE MEDIA:
The Technical Sector
Many people believe that women are more likely to be found in front of the cameras presenting a programme, rather than behind the cameras controlling the programme. The term ‘back-stage women’ has become a recent phenomenon, something which up till some time ago has rarely been heard of.
Although women in Malta have entered with success the back-stage field of the Maltese television industry, unfortunately they are still in a minority. The number of men in all departments within the media industry outnumber by far, the number of women within the same departments. Even in the so-called female oriented departments, like the sales and clerical departments, the presence of men far surpasses that of women in the
Maltese media industry.
This was clearly revealed when a qualitative research was conducted with both the heads of the Maltese media industry’s technical departments as well as with technical female staff working within a number of Maltese television stations. During the interviews with the two sets of respondents, various topics which are relevant to today’s media industry were covered. Such topics included: work assignments, women’s relationship with their employers and with their male colleagues, qualifications, training, and work-life balance among others. the data elicited from the two sets of data was used to formulate a grounded theory. Some recommendations were also included to facilitate the entry of more women in this sector of the media industry.
SOCIAL POLICY AND MOTHERS IN COHABITATION IN MALTA
A Sociological Investigation of Needs and Discursive Constructs
The aim of this research is to analyse whether the needs that mothers in cohabitation claim to have are real needs or discursive constructs. Hence importance is given to both social policy and the law in Malta.
In order to conduct this research the qualitative method was used. In fact, twenty-five in-depth semi-structured
Sociology Dissertations face-to-face interviews were conducted with different informants. Sixteen of the above-mentioned informants include mothers in cohabitation in Malta. Furthermore, in-depth semi-structured face-to-face interviews were also conducted with nine experts on the subject under study. In order to find such participants two types of sampling techniques were used. Snowball Sampling was used in order to select the mothers in cohabitation to be interviewed for this research. Nine of the mothers in cohabitation chosen for this research perform paid employment whilst the other seven mothers in cohabitation interviewed do not. Convenience Sampling was used for elite interviewing.
To this end three different discourses on the needs of mothers in cohabitation emerged, namely the ‘Catholic
Church discourse’, the ‘administrative discourse’, and the ‘discourse of the mothers in cohabitation’. All the participants claimed that there is a difference between material needs and legal and social needs. Speaking of material needs. All the informants claimed that, just because one lives in cohabitation it does not mean that there are more material needs than in the absence of cohabitation. In fact material needs depend on two main aspects: the relationship between the partners in the cohabiting relationship and the economic situation of women within the relationship. Here the difference is not between cohabiting mothers and married mothers but between employed and unemployed mothers.
However, when it comes to legal and social needs, all the informants claimed that mothers in cohabitation do have different needs than married mothers. This is mainly due to two reasons: first of all cohabitation is not legally regulated in Malta, and secondly, since the majority of the people in Malta consider the married heterosexual couple as the norm, cohabiting couples have to be more socially resilient.
Keywords o Social Policy in Malta o Family o Cohabitation in Malta o Real Needs o Discursive Constructs
ASSIMILATION OF LEGAL NIGERIAN IMMIGRANTS IN MALTESE SOCIETY?
According to the push-pull theory of migration, what causes migration is a combination of push factors influencing immigrants to leave their home country, with pull factors pulling them towards other countries.
Greater financial security, career success and academic achievement are the major push factors motivating
Nigerians to leave Nigeria. On the other hand, major pull factors attracting them to Malta include the fact that it is a potential stepping stone to Europe and it also offers high-quality education. Another pulling force is kinship and friendship network connections established between Nigerians settled in Malta and prospective migrants in Nigeria and around the globe. However, is Malta really a land flowing with milk and honey as the majority of Nigerians imagined it before migrating? The purpose of this research is to provide an understanding of the major factors which promote or inhibit Nigerian immigrants from incorporating in Maltese society.
According to the assimilationist perspective proposed by the Chicago School of Sociology in the 1920s and 1930s, the process of immigrants’ acculturation inevitably results in assimilation. This approach faced extensive criticism that it is outdated and highly optimistic, viewing immigrants as losing their cultural uniqueness, experiencing occupational upward mobility and fitting perfectly within the Anglo-American dominant culture.
This perspective remained the prominent paradigm until the late 1960s, a time of ongoing racial inequality and clashes. During this period, it was regarded as inapplicable to study the contemporary realities of immigrants’ incorporation and as a result new models of incorporation were adopted. This research examines the Nigerians’ incorporation process, by analysing Maltese integration measures, Maltese individuals’ reception and Nigerians’ endeavour to adapt to Maltese society.
AGEING AND UNEMPLOYMENT:
Are the over 40s being discriminated because of their age?
This study focused on the barriers which persons who are over the age of 40 are facing to find employment. A qualitative approach was used by conducting face-to-face semi-structured interviews with fifty registered unemployed persons aged 40 and above who were registering with the Employment and Training Corporation at the time of the study.
These persons are facing several barriers to find employment. Certain barriers such as, discrimination and poor working conditions, were being posed by society. On the other hand, other barriers were also being posed by the interviewees themselves. These included among others: lack of initiative with regards to training and their lack of motivation to learn new skills or take up a different career path. It was also pointed out that age discrimination was not the sole barrier being posed to the interviewees in their attempts to find a job.
ELDER ABUSE AND NEGLECT IN DOMESTIC SETTINGS: UNVEILING A HIDDEN REALITY
Even if not all older persons are dependent, there is a likelihood of greater degrees of dependence the older people get. While some older persons carry out their daily activities with little effort or difficulty, for others the activities of daily living are challenging. Hence, these older persons need help from others to perform these activities. Therefore, the family and other informal supporters are crucial in enabling an older person to age in place.
Although the vast majority of dependent older persons are cared for and tended with affection at home, a considerable amount of mistreatment takes place within these caregiving relationships. Caregiving is the main context for interaction between a caregiver and a care recipient during which elder abuse is generated. However, domestic elder abuse is still an elusive subject, and in general people know very little about it. Thus, this study aims at giving a rightful recognition of domestic elder abuse and neglect in Malta. Hence, risk factors related to the older person, the perpetrator, and the structural situation that surrounds the dyad are looked into in detail.
MEDIA ACCESSIBILITY AND THE MALTESE EXTREME-RIGHT
This dissertation analyses the media accessibility available to the Maltese Extreme-Right. Both the local media realm and the political arena are dominated by two major political parties. Because of this situation, any new political movement has to adapt to a hostile environment. This setting also affects the local Extreme-Right movements.
After identifying the movements forming part of the Extreme-Right within the local context, this dissertation investigates why politicians consider all available media as indispensable tools where the packaging of politics is concerned. Even though the onset of pluralism, in the 1990s, introduced a growing number of audio-/visual means, these have been monopolised by the key players in the field, namely mainstream political parties, the
State, business organisations and the Church. This dissertation shows how mainstream political parties have succeeded in hogging media access, with the help of media gatekeepers, thus helping to promote and perpetuate a bi-partisan political scenario.
For the purposes of this research, semi-structured interviews were conducted with media gatekeepers together with representatives of Extreme-Right parties and pressure groups. Use was also made of media texts to corroborate upon some of the issues raised during these interviews, illustrate a point or contradict a statement made. This dissertation proposes a model of media accessibility which is affected by media ownership, the ‘rules of the game’, the ideology upheld by the political party seeking media access, and the financial resources at its disposition. This study demonstrates that funds enable political parties to buy media access, whatever their political ideology. Whereas the media gatekeepers argued that they were not willing to promote chauvinistic sentiments to explicate why Extreme-Right parties were not given media coverage, the textual analysis demonstrates that hate speech is rampant in the local media. Xenophobic sentiments are allowed on the local media as long as the message does not derive from Extreme-Right exponents. This makes one question whether the Extreme-Right is not given media coverage from the fear of destabilising the bi-polar status-quo, rather than the eradication of hate speech.
QUALITY OF LIFE OF THE ELDERLY IN RESIDENTIAL SETTINGS
This dissertation will focus on abuse among the elderly and how it will affect the quality of life in residential settings. This interest emerged from the abuse my late grandfather suffered when he was residing in a residential home for the elderly.
To find out the extent of elderly abuse and what the elderly defined as abuse, semi-structured interviews were conducted with a sample of residents in three different homes- one private-run, one church-run and one staterun residences. In order to verify and enlarge on the individual experience of the residents, interviews were conducted with service providers working within the three residential homes in question. The results show why people might be afraid of getting old. This is because both residents and service providers underlined that abuse takes place within residential homes, in spite of institutional arrangements to tackle such behaviour.
Incidentally enough, it emerged that the types of abuse noted and the groups more likely to suffer from such abuse, are affected by social and gender variables.
The concluding chapter proposed recommendations. I focused on preventive measures which can be adopted by institutions themselves and the state to mitigate abuse. I believe that education and public awareness is the key to ameliorate the existent services where the elderly are concerned.
Ylenia Cauchi Carter
THE STRESS OF SUCCESS:
Coping Strategies of Dual-Earner Couples
The main purpose of this dissertation is to explore the type of stress which dual-earner couples are often facing, as well as the strategies they are opting for in order to balance their work and family demands. However, apart from discussing the reality of dual-earner family, this research study focuses also on the sociological implications of this type of family. Qualitative research methodology has been opted for in this research study. Data was collected from 21 families in which both spouses are engaged in paid employment outside the home. Interviews, time diaries and observation were employed in this dissertation. This research study represents an attempt to go beyond traditionalist discourses of dual-earner couples as social units which are burdened with conflicts and tensions. Contrary to the literature which tends to shed a ‘dark’ light on the dual-earner family. This dissertation concludes that the dual earner family also
has its positive side. Given that they have a double income, working parents are able to purchase consumeristic ‘needs’ and pursue other leisure activities which would be very hard to follow in a single-earner family. Moreover, in order to make up for the time ‘lost’ at work, dual-earner couples look forward to organising ‘quality’ time which they can spend with their family members.
LIFE BEGINS AT FORTY
A Sociological Study of Unemployment of Persons Aged 40 Years and Over in Malta
This study sociologically explores the perceptions of the unemployed aged 40 years and over in Malta participating in an employment scheme – the Training and Employment Exposure Scheme (T.E.E.S.). This scheme was funded by the European Union (E.U.) and the Government of Malta. It was specifically designed for this particular age-cohort of registered unemployed workers in Malta and it was implemented between 2004 and
2006. This study also serves as an evaluative exercise of the first phase of this particular scheme – the Core
Skills Course – from the participants’ point of view. Research results show that, overall, participants rate the
Core Skills Course fairly well. Nevertheless, the module on Job-Seeking Skills, and the utility of the course in finding employment are not best-rated. The variables of education and number of household breadwinners had a
Sociology Dissertations significant impact on responses, though not in a progressive manner. Those having a tertiary and primary level of education overall expressed more negativity vis-à-vis their employment opportunities and status in the labour market, as opposed to those having a basic and secondary level of education. On the other hand, similar to those coming from households with one or two breadwinners, those coming from households having four breadwinners also gave more negative responses, than those coming from households having three breadwinners.
THE AGE OF FLEXIBILIY:
Part-time Work Practices in the Maltese Labour Market
The main aim of this dissertation is to explore how the decisions to engage in part-time work interact with a number of other sociological variables. This study looks at a number of intersections, mainly labour and time, part-time work and the political process, morality, the gendering of labour, informal economy, consumerism, social relations such as kinship and child caring, and part-time work as an entry point into the labour market.
This study explores how the contemporary reality of part-time work in Malta must be located within the broader context of flexibilization of labour. To explore these intersections, qualitative interviewing was used. This comprised in-depth, semi-structured interviews with individuals that work both part-time as their primary source of income and part-time combined with full-time employment. Results revealed that working time is constructed and re-organised according to the different situations in life; for example when participants are still students, in their post-secondary and tertiary education, to the pre-marital phase, to parenthood and then to couples with adult children. Evidence collected through my interviews shows that parenthood affects fathers and mothers in different ways. Whereas fathers continue working part-time as a supplement to their full-time employment, mothers tend to reduce their working hours and engage in part-time work to complement their fulltime family responsibilities. An analysis of the gendered division of tasks within the home was also raised, where it seems evident that men are the ones that provide financial assistance and their role at home is that of a helper while the women take the responsibility of all domestic and child caring tasks. This study also addresses the issue of childcare centres and kinship relations, were childcare centres were given priority by my participants.
Besides this fact, kinship relations are also seen as an important structure of providing care. This study concluded that participants work part-time to earn more money in order to be able to maintain a consumerist lifestyle. These aspects are all embedded in the shift that has occurred throughout the years in Malta with the rise of the free market economy that leads to the credit society and the culture of borrowing. However, this brought conflicting ideas, where the free market has led to the creation of a certain type of family and the church is presenting us with another type of family. Results reveal that participants work part-time in the informal economy so that they can keep and/or enjoy all that they earn.
TO WORK OR NOT TO WORK: IS THAT THE QUESTION?
A Case Study on Youth Non-Participation in the ETC’s Employability Programmes
The main aim of this dissertation was to explore the processes and barriers leading to youth non participation in
ETC’s employability programmes and examine non-participants’ outlook and commitment to work. This study sought to find if programme non-participation is equivalent with unwillingness to work and analyze the extent to which unemployment is voluntary and/or if external factors constrain unemployed young people’s movement into work. Following a literature review on theoretical perspectives of work and unemployment and studies relevant to the research topic, data was collected through a triangulation of sources and methods. These comprised of indepth semi-structured interviews with 45 non-participant youth, informal interviews with trainers and ETC
Employment Advisors (EAs) and casual conversations with other staff, participant observation of Job Club participants and analysis of secondary sources. Data collected was then analyzed by drawing on sociological theories which attempt to integrate agency and structure. These included Bourdieu’s (1977) concept of ‘habitus’,
Giroux’s (1983) theory of resistance and Giddens’ (1979) ‘structuration theory’. Results revealed that nonparticipation in ETC’s programmes is due to multiple, often interlinked reasons and not solely the outcome of deliberate non-compliance with the Bureaucracy. Instead, non-participation for most youth was found to be unintentional and reflects the disconnection that exists between the State/institutional structures and the lives of individuals. Moreover non-participation in programmes was found to equate with unwillingness to work in most cases. This study concluded that although most youth were not flexible about jobs they considered or strenuous job seekers and many identified some positive aspects of joblessness these work attitudes only partly constrain informants’ movement into work. Rather, lack of: demand for labour, decent full-time jobs, social capital and work experience were amongst factors posing significant barriers to work especially for those with least resources. This study also proposes various ways in which current implementation of EU employment policy and programmes for unemployed youth can be improved so as to avoid a one-programme fits all approach and encourage greater participation as well as the need for early intervention and educational reform to ensure that all young people leave the educational system with the basic and social skills, knowledge and confidence to succeed in life.
THE WORK OF ART AS A SOCIAL EXPRESSION
The aim of this dissertation was to analyse art as a social expression. This was done through studying contemporary art forms referring mainly to Installation Art and the Art of abstraction. In this dissertation, sociological theories on art were presented and analysed.
This study endeavoured to examine the relationship between cultural values and their influence on works of art within the local context. The religious institution and its role as a barrier and resistant to new art forms were discussed. Furthermore, the European scenario especially its influence on the local art world was studied through the eyes of Post-war Maltese artists who were mainly trained in Italy.
Social symbolic theories on art and the coexistence of multiplicity of art forms were discussed. Furthermore, prominence was given to Feminist theories regarding the art world.
The research was based on case studies and participant observation. The reason for adopting case study research method was to provide a rich and in-depth description of the participants’ perception. Throughout this study, it was argued that artists used their art as a tool for changing cultural values within the Maltese society. Two local art groups were studied in order to examine new ways of social expression adopted by Maltese artists. One of these groups – The Modern Art Circle was active in the fifties. Its members introduced abstract art. Its repercussions were witnessed in the detailed analysis of the contemporary art group
and their particular interest in Installation Art. These forms of expression were studied in relation to the meanings attached to new forms of art.
Results from the case studies revealed that the participants had comparable perceptions on issues like the role of the public in the art world. However, they had different perceptions on the influence of moral values and issues of nudity in art within the Maltese context. All agreed that there is a great need for art education among the
Maltese general public. This would surely enhance the appreciation and understanding of different forms of art in the Maltese Islands.
WOMEN’S ROLES AND ACTIVITIES IN DAY-TO-DAY FAMILY LIFE:
A Case Study
This locality specific research shows how Maltese women over seventy succeeded through their day-to-day roles, functions and activities to actively construct the family and themselves in an environment constrained by patriarchy and spatio-temporal restrictions. Life histories with a sample of women from Birkirkara, one of the biggest cities in Malta, were utilized to find out how a patriarchal ordering of things, starting from birth, going on through childhood, girlhood and adulthood determined the informants’ life expectations, roles and patterns of living. Patriarchy comes out as having a most determining influence on the respondents’ lives.
For this study I interviewed about twenty elderly women aged between sixty-eight and seventy-five whom I got to know through one another as well as through my relatives especially my aunt. I studied the gathered ‘data’ through an eclectic approach which made good use of a varied number of empirical research studies of functional,
Marxist as well as interactionist orientation.
Although gender ideology is seen as having a constraining effect on the actors’ actions, this study shows an element of agency evident in the idiosyncratic way these respondents tackled mundane activities and roles. This agency came out strongly in the way they coped with relationships, nourishment and caring, motherhood, aspects which enabled the respondents and their female relatives to ‘shape’ their status within the community.
For most of the informants, being a woman meant sticking to the ‘right path’, being innovative only within the frameworks and boundaries set by patriarchal ideology which together with Catholicism helped keep women in their place. Going against such clear-cut notions of constructs of time, space and hierarch was deemed as deviant and hence bad for oneself and the general order of things.
WOMEN AND LEISURE IN MALTA
The sociological study of leisure in Malta is still in its early stages. Most sociological research done at present in
Malta deals with elements such as work, education, family or religion. Leisure is given secondary importance and is mostly considered as the corollary of work relations.
However leisure tends to plan an important role in the individuals’ lives. Everyone has some experience of leisure in life. Leisure has also become an important industry and a large source of employment. It is the subject of political discussion and state provision while a significant number of voluntary organisations and cultural
Sociology Dissertations activities provide opportunities for leisure to a significant number of individuals.
The above reasons form the background of this study. The need to know more about the leisure choices of the
Maltese and their total life situations led me to the study of Maltese women’s leisure perceptions and participation. This dissertation will attempt to provide a sociological analysis of the leisure choices of Maltese women through the analysis of various theories of leisure as well as data compiled from a survey distributed among women living at Mgarr and Swieqi.
IDEOLOGY IN MALTESE PARTY POLITICS
This dissertation examines, from a sociological perspective, the evolution of political ideology in Malta since the attainment of Independence. Following a theoretical review of the ‘end of ideology’ theses the study adopts
Fukuyama’s ‘end of History’ and seeks to test its relevance to the Maltese context.
Using the Manifesto Research Group (MRG) methodology, as explained by Budge, Lingermann, Volkens, Bara and Tannenbaum (2001), the study subjects a selection of electoral programmes from the Nationalist Party and the Malta Labour Party to content analysis. The constructed data set enables cross-time and cross-party comparisons of the ideological position of Malta’s two significant political parties. The findings of the study are then placed in the context of international research from the Comparative Manifestos Project of the Social
Sciences Research Centre of Berlin and an attempt is made to examine how the two main Maltese political ideologies, Christian Democracy and Social Democracy, can be placed on the ideological continuum that exists for the respective party families.
Following the empirical part, the critical analysis of the dissertation sets to discover whether ideological distinctions between Old Nationalists and New Nationalists, and, conversely, between Old Labour and New
Labour, are real. The study seeks also to determine whether there is a decline of either of the political ideologies.
The study concludes that Maltese political ideology has arrived at a standstill, based on a wide consensus on liberal economics, liberal politics and the welfare state. Currently Maltese politics is devoid of radical alternatives. The dissertation therefore suggests the proposition that Maltese political ideology is experiencing a new conservative age, hereby designated as the Christian Democrat Consensus.
Clyde Michael Puli
THE MALTESE TOURIST:
A Sociological Inquiry
This study focuses on some aspects of tourism travel. Specifically it aims to explore the reasons that drive
Maltese people to take trips for reasons of leisure away from these shores. It is a sociological inquiry of the
Maltese Tourist. The notions of globalization and mobility are becoming ever-increasing realities and it is important to view tourism in this context.
The central focus of the study is the Maltese Tourist. Chapters 1 and 2 look at the available literature on the subject of tourism and the structures that have shaped the tourist. Two factors are necessary for tourism to be present at all. First of all one must have time away from the workplace and secondly travel requires disposable income to finance a trip.
The study employs two approaches: firstly the critique of contemporary life, specifically after Bauman (1998) together with Graburn’s (1995) sacred/profane model. Secondly it uses the symbolic interactionist approach which posits that actors define the situation and act accordingly. Ten in-depth semi-structured interviews were conducted and questions were centred around prepared topics. All interviews were recorded and transcribed.
Questions covered topics such as countries visited, length of stay, the role of advertising and the influence wielded by the presence of tourists in Malta.
Keywords o Travel o Tourism o Off-the-beaten-track o Individualism o Conspicuous Consumption o Globalisation o Mobility
INTEGRATION OR ISOLATION?
The Experience of Alcohol Drinking among Older Persons
ATTITUDES TO THE ENVIRONMENT
A Sociological Study of Mayors’ Attitudes from fourteen Local Councils in Malta and Gozo
This study describes the attitude of local council mayors in Malta and Gozo towards the environment and environmental issues, focusing upon the intricate relationship between society and the environment. Mayors have been chosen as subjects because, being the official representatives of the local councils, they also represent and are close to the residents in their localities. The mayors’ views on and their behaviour toward the environment show the extent to which they are aware of environmental issues. The approach adopted in this study is qualitative, and the data have been collected by means of in-depth, semi-structured interviews held between August and September 2001. Fourteen mayors were interviewed. The mayors’ attitude is also examined with respect to the following parameters: localism versus national cooperation, individualism versus collectivism, personal versus public environmental action, Labour versus Nationalist Party mayors’ attitudes towards the environment, leadership/agency versus fatalism/structure, materialist versus postmaterialist mayors and their linkage to actual affluence levels, the relationship of age/education in relation to environment attitudes. The main findings of this study show that, for various reasons, the mayoral role itself heightens the environmental awareness of mayors; however, their motivation and environmentally friendly behaviour are constrained in some ways, in particular by the dominance of partisan politics.
THE STATE AND EDUCATION IN MALTA
The primary objective of this dissertation as a critical analysis of the relation of the state to Maltese society. An analysis of the role of the state in education, and of the conflicting interests surrounding education policy and reform, was the particular focus chosen for this research. Thus a wide and varied range of documentation related to state reform – concerning the status of teachers, professional autonomy in education, and private schools as three related areas of focus – was analysed n relation to literature on the state and education within national and international contexts. This served to shed light on some of the reasons behind the particular reforms
Sociology Dissertations implemented by the state. In fact, from the course of events analysed it is evident that state policy in education is influenced by a variety of interests, mainly in terms of class relations, economic power and political power.
These interests originate both from outside government and the state (e.g. private interests) and from within
(e.g. members in control of/working within the state apparatus). Thus the state becomes representative of a number of intended interests, rather than the collective, which accounts for the unequal degree of voice within the process of decision-making that is conceded to different constituencies and stakeholders.
FAREWELL TO SELF-MANAGEMENT:
INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS AT MALTA DRYDOCKS AT A CROSSROADS
IDEOLOGICAL AND STRATEGIC SHIFTS FROM OLD LABOUR TO NEW LABOUR IN MALTA
On emerging victors in the general elections held on October 26 th , 1996, the Malta Labour Party gave the impression that it was going to create a modern Malta, which would once and for all do away with patronage and partisan politics. New Prime Minister Alfred Sant had previously managed to cleanse his Party of its violent imagery, transforming the Malta Labour Party from one which was associated with arrogant governments lead by an authoritarian yet charismatic leader, Dom Mintoff, to a modernised party led by a relatively young and modern leader who accept to work with all those who wanted to modernise Malta. Labour gave the impression that it was ready to work for the
and not only for the
New Labour only managed to stay in power for twenty-two months.
Sant’s government, which had one-seat parliamentary majority, faced an imminent problem: unsustainable national debt. His government tackled this problem by means of austerity measures, and this, together with a parliamentary rebellion by Dom Mintoff himself, as well as other factors, led to the downfall of the New Labour
Sociology Dissertations government in 1998. Dom Mintoff, the symbol of the Malta Labour Party for around half a century, no longer remained ‘the saviour’ for Labourites. He became a traitor. At the same time, Alfred Sant’s hold on the Party remained as strong as ever.
When New Labour lost the general elections on September 5 th
. 1998, I was looking for a research topic for the main part of my Masters Degree in Sociology. New Labour was a temptation I could not resist.
Hence, I decided to compare the Malta Labour Party under Sant with that under Dom Mintoff and his successor
Karmeny Mifsud Bonnici. I wanted to carry out a sociological analysis, free as much as possible from myth and propaganda, to analyse the similarities and the contrasts between ‘Old’ and ‘New’ Labour. I thought that the best way to do this was to analyse the ideological and strategic shifts from the one (Old Labour) to the other (New
It has taken me three long years to carry out this study, and I had never assumed that there would be so many complexities on the issue. I found out that, as far as the Malta Labour Party from 1971 to 1998 is concerned, change is neither a simple question of shifts nor a mere evolutionary process.
It could include elements of both.
Indeed, in this thesis it will be argued that various strategic and ideological shifts have taken place from Old
Labour to New Labour. These include ideological shifts in economic policy and the role of the state as well as strategic shifts in political strategy and class and party interests.
It will also be argues that on the other hand, Old Labour and New Labour shared common evolutionary features such as the ideological emphasis on the primacy of (industrial) economy, nationalism and the welfare state, and in the degree of power of the leader within the Party.
In this thesis I have given much importance to the political and economic changes which took place in Malta between the 1970s and the 1990s, as well as to the value-systems in Malta during these years.
I feel that this study not only puts forward an analysis of one of the most interesting political topics of the late twentieth century Malta, but also makes an interesting reading because the phenomenon of modernisation of
Social Democratic parties is global, ranging from Britain to New Zealand, and fro, Brazil to South Africa. Indeed,
I hope that the study can prove itself useful to those analysing social change both within Malta as well as for comparative purposes with processes of change in other societies.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
A SYMBOLIC INTERACTIONIST PERSPECTIVE
The sociological aspect of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) proposed by this study is explored through a symbolic interactionist perspective. Shared meanings and intersubjective beliefs, derived from subjects’ responses in the research process, are analysed and interpreted against the key themes of symbolic interactionism, with the resultant influences in the construction of the ADHD self highlighted. Discussion on the use of linguistic symbols and the shaping effect of role taking is presented, as common ADHD identities are unpacked and subjects’ own world reality analysed within shared social processes. The qualitative methodology employed generates the required empirical data through narratives of life experiences extracted from in-depth interviews as the study’s main research tool. As a descriptive and interpretive project, the study identifies those social factors whose influences are seen to extend to the point of making ADHD also a socially defined pathology in a contrived context of meanings and definitions. Within its symbolic interactionist framework, the study argues that the condition under review is rendered more visible to its ‘social audience’ when it is engaged with societal reactions and definitions. How and why the variables of social meanings, definitions and labelling act as significant cues in the creation of ADHD selves and behaviours are the key challenges of the entire endeavour.
From an interpretive stance, the study shows a way forward by discussing the implications for the family, schools and community environments wherein interactional problems connected with the condition can be socially redesigned and turned into proactive strategies for socialisation.
Philip E. Said
UNIVERSITY – THE FAST LANE
A Study of Socio-Cultural Status Mobility Amongst University Students
This is a scientific analysis of socio-cultural status mobility where university is presumed to be a major factor in an individual’s process of socio-economic status attainment and consequently, socio-cultural status mobility. The hypothesis focuses on whether the students who attain socio-economic mobility through university are in fact, being socially and culturally accepted by the members of the higher social ‘classes’; in particular the ‘service class’ members.
This hypothesis is tested against a group of 50 ex-university students (both males and females) who graduated in
Business Management in the Faculty of Economics, Management and Accountancy, between 1991
Sociology Dissertations and 1994. Educational attainment is held at a constant since all respondents (100%, N=50) terminated their studies at the University of Malta.
The analysis confirms that the sample was clearly upwardly mobile, with 60% experiencing ‘perfect upward mobility’ having moved to the ‘service class’ (Goldthorpe, 1987), since their background is from the intermediate and working classes. The other 40% kept their parental socio-economic and cultural (service class) status, so their role can almost be described as ‘ascribed’. They remained in the same social class of origin. Moreover, it resulted that these individuals (the 60%) became socially accepted, through a ‘cultural integration’ process, by the ‘service class’ category and sub-culture. This happened mainly because of the formation through both formal and informal training at University. Actually the respondents received this training at University which laid the grounds for their adult socialisation period.
Within the study the researcher had to identify a Maltese social class typography in order to identify the extent to which social mobility occurred. Likewise, the researcher identified an almost ‘unreachable’ social position coined as ‘super class’ (from Adonis and Pollard, 1997).
In the last part of the study, the researcher identified a direct interdependent process between socio-economic and cultural mobility and social development at a wider context. In fact, University became perceived as an institution that can generate social development through the individual development of students.
Bernard A. Zarb
EDUCATION AND OLD AGE:
A Critical Analysis of Malta’s University of the Third Age
The aim of this dissertation was a critical sociological analysis of the social realities encompassing older adult education. The study endeavoured to analyse the relationship of a particular older adult educational programme vis-à-vis the enhancement or elimination of egalitarian and existing social inequalities in later life. Following a literature review focusing on the sociological theories of old age, ageism, and older adult education, fieldwork was carried out at the University of the Third Age in Malta (U3E). Data collection was administered through
Fielding and Fielding’s (1985) ‘data combination’ method, employing non-participant observation, a mail questionnaire, and elite interviews. The data collected was consequently analysed through Pierre Bourdieu’s
(and Passeron, 1997; 1984) critical insights on ‘habitus’, ‘social class’ and ‘distinction’, as well as Paulo Freire’s
(1972a, 1985) critical concept of liberatorty education.
Results revealed that the primary indicator for membership in the U3E was being situated in the ‘young-old’ cohort’, possessing relatively higher levels of educational attainment and qualifications, as well as previous experience in higher level occupations. The U3E was characterised by a liberal ideological framework, ‘banking’ education, and low levels of participatory ‘presence’, ‘control’ and ‘involvement’. This research study concluded that U3E membership is especially engaged in by older persons endowed with a higher than average volume of
‘cultural capital’. They utilised their involvement in the U3E as both a conscious and unconscious manipulation of ‘symbolic capital’ to elevate their position in the social space and thus distinguish themselves from the rest of the older population. The dissertation also includes a number of policy proposals for operation planners so as to aid the U3E to reach its transformative potential and distance itself from being another euphemism for glorified occupation therapy.
LIFE ON THE LINE
A Sociological Investigation of Women Working in a Clothing Factory in Malta
The study is about the life of a number of women employed as machine operators in a German-owned, Maltesemanaged factory producing women’s trousers. Data was gathered by means of observation, participant observation and indepth, unstructured interviews. The women are tied to their machine for long hours and their work is tightly controlled. Although they claim to be happy at work, their resistance strategies including frequent absenteeism and high rates of labour turnover suggest otherwise. Their career aspirations are low especially since they regard their working life as temporary. This mostly stems from the fact that their life at work is so much tinged by their personal life. That boyfriends, weddings, homes, children and husbands are on top of their agenda is evident in their attitudes towards their work but especially in the culture of shopfloor. The work experience of the women is greatly affected by management strategies especially maternalist approach in its relationship with the workforce to the extent that for many, the management replaces the union where problem solving is concerned.
FULL PARTICIPATION OF THE MALTESE ELDERLY IN SOCIETY
THE ENVIRONMENTAL AND SOCIOLOGICAL IMPLICATIONS OF AQUACULTURE
The aim of this thesis is to put in a sociological perspective the environmental and social implications, including power policies, of aquaculture as an industry in Malta.
Interviews with nine persons from different strata of society were conducted; extensive usage of the relevant media coverage as well as literature from several sources was referred to. A synthesis of the above was made, and the following conclusion was reached: Aquaculture can have potentially negative impacts on both the physical and the social environment.
“THE DELINQUENT YOUTH”
A Sociological Study of Juvenile Delinquency in Malta
Juvenile delinquency may be described as the manifestation of the cultural conflict endemic to any social structure. It epitomises youth rebellion against those behaviour standards, values, and lifestyles revered by the established culture. Juvenile delinquency, however, implies more than inter status-group conflict. It cuts across generational, gender, class and territorial boundaries. Moreover, the nature, source, content and extent of youth delinquency are situationally-dependent and necessitate the understanding of the relativity and the multiplicity
Sociology Dissertations of the problem. To define the term “juvenile delinquency” is also, in itself, an arduous task. Accepting the notion of juvenile delinquency as the misconduct of youth as indicated through juvenile violations of social norms, for example, would not help overcome the difficulty of arriving at a precise explanation of the problem. Since what is held to be non-normative behaviour is relative to the social norms upheld in one social structure or another, it is impossible to arrive at a uniform definition of juvenile delinquent behaviour. Neither is it possible to define juvenile delinquency in terms to one explanation or another. A host of factors impinge on the individual and the environment to create delinquency. This study seeks to identity some of the factors related to juvenile delinquency incidence in Malta. It cannot nor does it seek to provide the answer to youth delinquency causality in Malta. “The Delinquent Youth”, rather, seeks to highlight some of the salient features of the problem and to emphasise the necessity of subjecting this field to empirical scrutiny.
DYING TO BE SEEN?
Power and Body Shape in Late Modern Society
The problem of obesity in society today is juxtaposed by the ‘tyranny of slenderness’ that dominates individuals through the postmodern ‘political economy of the sign’. In this dissertation, the concept of the body as a cultural and social product is explored as a means towards analysing the structural influences at play and the power dynamics set up by the current ‘bio-politics- of body shape. The late modern individual, bombarded as she is by the dominant media images, is viewed from within a panoptic paradigm where individuals become Foucault’s
‘docile bodies’ at the mercy of the gaze of the generalized other.
Bourdieu’s concept of habitus is used to examine the dialectic of structural influences and cognitive dispositions that determine social action, and the relevance of socially desirable physical attributes for building and exploiting social capital.
A cultural variant of Merton’s theory of deviance is offered as a way of understanding the enigma of obesity in today’s image-conscious society where anorexia is seen to be the result of ritualized adaptation to strain, and obesity a form of retreat. It is suggested that both types of adaptation display an abandonment of culturally
Sociology Dissertations defined foals when individuals become alienated by the impossible task of achieving the ‘hyper-real’ plastic body that has come to tyrannise the ‘inner logic of consumer culture’.
MSc in Sociology, University of Manchester
CHILDHOOD OBESITY IN MALTA:
A Sociological Perspective
The ‘obesity epidemic’ (World Health Organization 2000) has been the subject of extensive cross disciplinary research. One barrage of statistics that proved to be a trigger for this study shows that the top ten countries for overweight thirteen year olds worldwide include five from the Mediterranean region (Currie et al. 2004b p.125).
Malta’s number one placing is of particular interest here. The purpose of this research is to add a sociological perspective to the academic discussion in its wake. It aims to highlight the ‘invisible and unintended relationships’ (Crossley 2004) that may hold between society and biology and to show that obesity is not simply something individuals ‘have’ but intrinsically linked to what they ‘do’. It hopes to shift the focus of the debate from that of ‘deviant bodies’ to the social processes within which these are embedded by exploring the ‘doings’ in local culture that might have a direct or indirect influence on the physical and social process of embodiment in overweight children.
A combination of predominantly qualitative research techniques are used to explore the values and attitudes that adults and children hold in respect to overweight children and the way that these influence affective dynamics, food and lifestyle choices.
Data are analysed to explore the dynamic interplay of issues related to aesthetics, health and happiness as linked to the overweight body shape in children; to focus on what it means ‘to be overweight and to have an overweight body’ as a child growing up locally; and to highlight the way power dynamics in child-care strategies and negotiations influence parenting and nurturing techniques.
Principal findings show that the goals and preoccupations mothers have in relation to their child’s body shape and weight change dramatically with age:- while the overweight baby/toddler is considered ‘cute’, ‘cuddly’ and
‘resistant to illness’ – symbolic evidence of a successful (‘happy’) mother, this is effectively reversed by the time
Sociology Dissertations the child is about to leave primary school, aged ten, when the potential health problems associated with obesity
(in adulthood) and the social sanctions the older children encounters under the influence of the ‘slim is beautiful’ become the mothers’ main preoccupation. The children’s perspective shows that while the idea that ‘fat is ugly’ is firmly established and frequently expressed by children in both age groups, the overweight five year olds seem unaware of their true weight status in contrast with the ten year olds who develop private coping strategies to gloss over the playground taunts. The grandmothers’ powerful position as main and preferred source of childcare is clear in the data where the mothers’ loss of control over the child’s consumption of high calorie sweet treats is an accepted negative consequence in child care negotiations.
The debate on causes for the high rate of obesity in Maltese children need to acknowledge these social realities within which the trend is embedded and to address the essential paradox inherent in the ‘medicalization’ of obesity where the focus in individual ‘solutions’ tends to render the social environment that produced them invisible.
Gillian M. Martin
SCHOOL TO WORK TRANSITIONS – THE LIFE COURSE CONTEXT OF A COHORT OF ‘AT-RISK’ YOUTHS
This study is focused on the transitions from school to work of a cohort of young men who had once attended St.
Paul’s School and by implication were, at that point in their lives, classified as ‘at-risk’ young people by authorities of the Maltese Education Division. St. Paul’s School has been purposely set up for boys aged from thirteen to sixteen who are deemed as too disruptive to be allowed to carry on attending mainstream schools by the said authorities or who have been long-term school absentees. They are thereby given the possibility of attending this school as a form of second opportunity schooling.
The participants have been pre-selected, using purposeful sampling, and are 25 to 30 years old ex-students of St.
Paul’s School. The study utilizes a qualitative methodology. The purpose of this study is to explore the interconnectedness of these young men’s actions in different domains, starting from school and the initial transition to the labor market and then seeing the different transition patterns they experience as their life course evolves. It looks into how structural influences such as class enables or limits them in their approach to their life course and how this is employed together with their agency to reach their goals.
The transition from school to work is not simply associated with linear transitions from the school bench to the work-place. Rather, it is associated with the many different routes that these young people take up, the subjective connotations that they associate with working, and their overall socialization throughout their life course. The biographical developments that also take place in their lives, including their forging of intimate relationships with partners, and setting up home for themselves, are further major influences on their lifecourse.
THE MIGRATION COMPONENT OF POPULATION PROJECTIONS FOR THE MALTESE ISLANDS:
A Study of Demographic Aspects
This thesis focuses on demographic aspects of migration analysed for purposes of population projections of the
Maltese Islands. International migration has not been introduced in the computation of Maltese national population projections so far, not has internal migration been included in the computation of population projections at the sub-national level. A main question that the thesis offers an answer to is this: How does migration influence the size and age-gender structure of the Maltese population on the national and sub-national level in the context of population projections making?
This thesis presents the first attempt at statistical modelling, based on the Rogers and Castro double exponential equation migration model, for population projections in Maltese demography. The data are derived from the 1995 Census of Population and Housing. Two questions on internal migration are asked: (a) place of usual residence one year prior to the Census and (b) place of usual residence five years prior to the Census.
These questions provided a basis for analysis of parity of migration, computation of respective gross migraproduction rates as well as some 28 ‘Key reports’ on statistical modelling. Seven model parameters are estimated by means of non-linear regression analysis.
The issue of paucity of migration data remains a chronic problem in demographic analysis. The thesis examines the qualities and defaults of migration data sources such as census, survey and population register. The latter one has been seen as a useful tool in collecting data needed for multi-regional and multi-state demographic analysis. A more in-depth, causal analysis of migration leading towards life-event analysis would be possible using population register.
Like other works of similar character this thesis seeks to achieve statistical significance of estimated parameters in a context of highly detailed demographic data. The ‘Key reports’ contain the important inputs needed for the
Rogers and Castro migration model equations for: (a) in- and out- migration flows; (b) two genders and the total population; (c) usual place of residence and five years prior to Census; and (d) six regions as well as the total population of the Maltese Islands.
It has been demonstrated that internal migration needs to be introduced in the Maltese population projection practice since it directly contributes to processes of: (a) depopulation (the Inner Harbour Region), (b) aging (Gozo and Comino and the Inner Harbour Region) and (c) attractiveness and population increase (the Northern and the
Western Regions). Another important finding is that the gross inter-regional migraproduction rates stood at 1.31 and 1.45 for migration five years prior to Census and one year prior to Census, respectively. The mean age of labour force component indicates a family of ‘late peaking’ migration curves in almost all analysed regions.
The thesis confirms the applicability of the Rogers and Castro migration model using the Maltese migration data. The index of goodness-of-fit of 10.2% for modelled migration rates five years prior to Census indicates better results of modelling than the corresponding index of goodness-of-fit for modelled migration rates one year prior to Census of 16.4%.
However, models being a simplification of a more complex social reality do not offer a panacea for all problems of forecasting. The exogenous variables other than the classical population system variables (namely births, deaths and migration) are becoming more and more important in contemporary demography. This makes the task of producing population projections necessarily an exercise of multidisciplinary character.
Maja Miljanic Brinkworth
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
AN EVALUATION OF HOUSING PATTERNS AND POLICIES IN MALTA
This thesis shows that the housing sector in Malta is suffering from traits of excess; it was found to be over- and under- priced; over- and under-populated; over-productive and, at times, wrongly located and badly distributed.
The rental stock is old and sub-standard while owner-occupation has grown rapidly and has become very expensive. The sector has no housing associations and no non-government organisations and there is little consideration given to the special housing needs by particular users. The State is the sole provider of affordable housing while the private sector considers housing to be one of the most profitable and safest forms of
Sociology Dissertations investment.
This thesis provides an introduction to the scope of housing, purpose and objective of policy and the motivation of householders. It expounds the European scenario within which it is written, analysis the sources of information that have been tapped during its compilation and introduces a zonation of the country. The thesis argues that housing in Malta is an endemic problem. Having put Malta’s housing patterns and policies within their geographical perspective, it proposes a model for housing policies, introduces the stake holders in the housing sector and traces the pattern of development of housing policies since the early 16 th century. Mainly, it focuses upon the evolution of housing policies since the late 1940s and examines the major issues that have emanated from them. a housing quality survey is analysed, and factors that influence the price of housing in Malta are identified and evaluated. Finally, the thesis expresses concern with housing rent policies in Malta and, in justification, includes references to rent policies in Western Europe. The thesis ends with a summary of key findings; a comparison of the housing patterns and policies in Malta with those of other European countries; and a discussion of proposals to improve housing policies in Malta.
Paul Victor Mifsud
Ph.D.; Department of Environmental Social Sciences – Keele University
RELIGION AND SOCIAL CHANGE IN MALTA
This thesis examines the effect on the religious life and practice of the Maltese people of the processes of rapid social change that have occurred in recent decades; and the way in which the process of modernization has affected, and continues to affect, the traditional attachment of the Maltese to Catholicism.
The process of social change which is revealed in an analytical social history of the past few decades in Malta may be regarded as an instance of structural differentiation, although the Maltese case differs in significant respects from that process as it has occurred in the major advanced nations. Maltese society had experienced relatively little separation of institutional orders before the Second World War. As an occupied colonial territory, many of the functions of the developed state society continued to be performed for Malta in Britain, or by British officials in the island. Rural life continued for a large proportion of the population, and even in the urban areas, the institutions and practices of rural life persisted, so that the social organization of the towns was, in many respects, like that of the villages. Community was the characteristic mode for the activities and relationships, and, in this context, the priesthood and the Church continued to superintend the greater part of social arrangements. The social pattern was still a ‘synthetic’ pattern; social life was not organized in functionally
Sociology Dissertations distinguishable areas of activity. Life was still ‘of a piece’, and much of the activity fell under the control of the
Traditional social organization was profoundly affected by several developments in the postwar years. In particular, there were new attempts by a new type of indigenous political leadership to achieve a definitive settlement of the persisting constitutional disagreements, and to gain for the Maltese at least a broad measure of political autonomy and self-determination. With the dissemination of anti-colonialist ideas by the United
Nations, in the postwar period, Malta’s role as a ‘fortress’ was gradually abandoned for a new mode of living based on industrialization and mass tourism. The changes in economic activity further stimulated change in political institutions; and what followed was the development of new patterns of activity in all areas of social life in which rational planning and scientific techniques acquired continuously increasing dominance. Traditional values and customs were abrogated, and as literary was extended, rational procedures took over social organization to an ever increasing degree.
These changes in the life habits, economic pursuits, political organization and the establishment of a modern welfare state, had important consequences for the Church. For centuries, the Church had been the focus of national identity, and in some respects had been almost a surrogate form of political expression and nationalism.
Until the first serious nationalist movement emerged in the second half of the nineteenth century, the Church had represented, virtually exclusively, folk interests at the grass-roots level. Under the Knights, the Church had been practically an autonomous state; it had led the revolt against the French in 1798; and was recognized by the British as an irreplaceable element essential for the government of the island. With the acquisition of
Independence in 1864, the Church lost its traditional claims to exclusive representation of Maltese identity, and its leaders – the well-mannered clergy – began to feel the need to shed the substitute roles which they had assumed in the absence of effective representation of the indigenous population vis-à-vis the ‘occupying stranger’.
New social needs, directly related to the new social forces generated by the new openings in Maltese society as it developed gesellschaftliche characteristics, required new structures, and some of these arose within the Church itself.
The rise of new political self-reliance in Malta was not entirely characterized by a smooth passage from one stage to the other: the early 1960s presented to the entire people a traumatic experience in which, belatedly perhaps, the relationship of Church and State were subjected to bitter public debate. The Labour movement had come to envisage the Church as an obstacle to progress, and to regard Church leaders as the allies of the foreign colonizers, obstructing initially the proposal for integration with Britain in the mid-fifties, and later alienating popular support for the Party when it was vigorously campaigning for independence in the early sixties. The reaction of the Church to this situation provides a crucial episode in recent Maltese history, which is analyzed in this thesis as a catalytic item in the process of social change, more abstractly conceived.
The study of religion in Malta necessarily encompasses two broad, analytically distinguishable, but empirically intractably interwoven, areas: that of religious belief and practice; and that of the institution of the Church itself and its operation through its functionaries.
Catholicism affects everyday life through a complex body of clearly articulated norms, intended to regulate both behaviour and ritual. The viability of these norms within a changing social structure is a primary focus in this study.
Divergent orientations to the loss of the Church’s exclusive super-intendancy over Maltese life in general were noted among the clergy, of whom ten per cent were interviewed for this study. The thesis notes the change of attitudes among the clergy, from a position in which religion is visualized as the unique and exclusive legitimating agency for social control to a position that regards religion as one particular aspect of human life, though one not divorced from general human activity. A minority of priests demonstrated a more pronounced
‘liberal’ attitude to social development. The existence of these three different orientations among the Maltese clergy, which appear as responses to the effect of social change in general, but also as ‘imported’ trends in theology developing after Vatican II, created disharmonies within the Maltese ecclesiastical establishment, in the realm both of values and with respect to the strategy by which values might be operationalized in the pastorate. The main internal cleavages within the Maltese Church are pursued in this thesis, and the way in which they contributed to a growing awareness of secularization in Malta, and particularly in the Church, is analyzed. There are indications of further change among the younger clergy as they adapt to new roles in a more democratic society. Traditional patterns of religious practice persist; but traditional celebrations and festivities tend to be maintained more in conscious attempt to preserve elements of an artistic and cultural heritage, than as a principal agency for the communication of the meaning of Christian commitment.
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.); University of Oxford
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