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Early Urbanism in Europe
The Trypillia Mega-Sites of the Ukrainian Forest-Steppe
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Contemporary Religiosity and the Absence of Solidarity With Those in Need

Abstract

The article uses an adapted version of the multidimensional theory of religion to explore changes in contemporary religiosity in Central Europe, with a special focus on the Czech Republic. It asks whether there are any possible connections between the current absence of welcome of refugees, and the fact that the dominant religiosity that replaced the secularist ideology despises religious dogmas and institutions. It asks how people believing in “something”, who do not wish to define that “something” or share its vision with others, can make an informed and healthy judgment and make themselves capable of solidarity with others. The final part of the article returns to the possibilities of strengthening precisely those dimensions of religion that have been downplayed, yet without unrealistic expectations that people would move back to the form of religiosity their parents, but more often already their great-grandparents, left behind.

Open access
How to Respond to Conflicts Over Value Pluralism?

Abstract

This paper starts with arguing that the main reason why value pluralism has become conflictual is that it challenges people’s socio-cultural identity. The next section gives a summary of recent sociological research on socio-cultural tensions and conflicts in the Netherlands and Europe. They are closely linked to “globalization issues,” such as cosmopolitism, immigration, and cultural integration. This shows that the prediction of the modernization theory, according to which substantial socio-cultural values would be replaced by a universalist, procedural ethics, has not come true. The third section discusses the philosophical reasons of the potentially conflictual character of today’s value pluralism: the fragility of socio-cultural identity, the spread of the culture of expressive individualism and the ethics of authenticity, and the influence of the (politics of) recognition of socio-cultural differences. The fourth section discusses two philosophical responses to the conflictual character of value pluralism. First, there is Taylor’s plea for a broadening of our socio-cultural horizon and a transformation of our common standards of (value-)judgments, based on his idea of a fusion of cultural horizons. In spite of its obvious merits, Taylor underestimates the degree of cultural distance that characterizes many instances of value pluralism. Second, there is an idea of cultural hospitality, which is an application of Ricoeur’s idea of linguistic hospitality to the cultural sphere. It is more modest than Taylor’s proposal, since it recognizes the unbridgeable gap that separates different cultures and their values. Another even more modest suggestion to diminish the conflictual character of value pluralism is the virtue of tolerance, which combines the idea that I have good reasons for my value attachments with the recognition that my values are not the completion of the ideal of human existence.

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Association of severity of depressive symptoms with sleep quality, social support and stress among Pakistani medical and dental students: A cross-sectional study

Abstract

Objectives

This study has been designed to elucidate the prevalence of stress, depression and poor sleep among medical students in a Pakistani medical school. There is a paucity of data on social support among medical students in Pakistan; an important predictor of depressive symptoms. Therefore, this study was also aimed to demonstrate the direct and indirect impact of social support in alleviating depressive symptoms in the study sample.

Methods

This observational cross-sectional study was conducted in Lahore, Pakistan, where a total of 400 students at a medical school were approached between 1st January to 31st March 2018 to participate in the study. The study sample comprised of medical and dental students enrolled at a privately financed Pakistani medical and dental school. The participants responded to a self-administered survey comprising of five parts: a) demographics, b) Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI), c) Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9), d) Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support (MSPSS) and e) Perceived Stress Scale-4 (PSS-4). All data were analysed using SPSS v. 20. Linear regression analysis was used to reveal the predictors of depression.

Results

In total, 353 medical students participated, yielding a response rate of 88.25%. Overall, poor sleep quality was experienced by 205 (58.1%) students. Mild to severe depression was reported by 83% of the respondents: mild depression by 104 (29.5%), moderate depression by 104 (29.5%), moderately severe depression by 54 (15.3%) and severe depression by 31 (8.8%) respondents. Subjective sleep quality, sleep latency, daytime dysfunction and stress levels were significantly associated with depression symptoms. Social support was not significantly associated with depressive symptoms in the regression model (Beta = -0.08, P < 0.09); however, it acted as a significant mediator, reducing the strength of the relationship between depressive symptoms and sleep quality and stress.

Conclusions

According to our study, a large proportion of healthcare (medical and dental) students were found to be suffering from mild to moderate depression and experienced poor sleep quality. It is concluded that social support is an important variable in predicting depressive symptomatology by ameliorating the effects of poor sleep quality and high stress levels.

Open access
Barriers and facilitators to conducting research by early career psychiatrists: a literature review

Abstract

Objectives

To understand and identify factors that promote and prevent research participation among early career psychiatrists (ECPs), in order to understand what would encourage more ECPs to pursue a research career.

Methods

We conducted an electronic search of databases (PubMed and the Cochrane library) using the keywords ‘doctors’, ‘trainees’, ‘residents’, ‘physicians’ and ‘psychiatric trainees’ as well as ‘research’ (MeSH) and ‘publishing’ (MeSH). This search was complemented by a secondary hand search.

Results

We identified 524 articles, of which 16 fulfilled inclusion criteria for this review. The main barriers included lack of dedicated time for research, lack of mentoring and lack of funding. The main facilitators were opportunities to receive mentorship and access to research funding.

Conclusions

Action is needed to counteract the lack of ECPs interested in a career in research. Specific programs encouraging ECPs to pursue research careers and having access to mentors could help increase the current numbers of researching clinicians in the field.

Open access
City-region governance in transitional contexts: the case of the BRICS

Abstract

The bulk of the scholarly literature on city-regions and their governance is drawn from contexts where economic and political systems have been stable over an extended period. However, many parts of the world, including all countries in the BRICS, have experienced far-reaching national transformations in the recent past in economic and/or political systems. The national transitions are complex, with a mix of continuity and rupture, while their translation into the scale of the city-region is often indirect. But, these transitions have been significant for the city-region, providing a period of opportunity and institutional fluidity. Studies of the BRICS show that outcomes of transitions are varied but that there are junctures of productive comparison including the ways in which the nature of the transitions create new path dependencies, and way in which interests across territorial scales soon consolidate, producing new rigidities in city-region governance.

Open access
Investigating factors affecting the mode choices of commuters in Kuwait city & surrounding urban areas: Strategies for a higher quality and more sustainable public transport system

Abstract

This paper reports on the social, cultural, and demographic factors affecting Kuwaiti commuters. The objectives were to 1) investigate the awareness of Kuwaitis of transportation problems, 2) examine the perceptions of Kuwaitis of daily traffic congestion and how it affects them emotionally and physically, and the main objective 3) study the attitudes of Kuwaitis towards using public buses. An online survey was used to examine these factors, and a sample of five hundred transportation system users was obtained. The primary findings showed significant associations between the use of public transport buses and the user’s nationality, gender, age, education, and income level. Men are 2.6 times more likely to use buses, and non-Kuwaiti residents are 6.4 times more likely to use them. In relation to the perceptions of daily traffic congestion, findings indicate that with increase in travel time, commuters, in general, developed more negative feelings, such as exhaustion and stress. A large proportion of the sample population is aware of current local transportation problems and future transportation projects. The results of this study fill a gap in the knowledge of the socioeconomic and cultural factors that influence the success of sustainable public transportation solutions to the traffic challenges found in Kuwait. This knowledge is also crucial to foreign consultants working on planning and transportation projects in the region. It is recommended that officials use this new knowledge on cultural factors to develop integrated land use and transportation plans of the urban areas in Kuwait and to develop more effective and sustainable transportation demand management policies in support of UN Sustainable Development Goals that Kuwait has signed up to pursue.

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A model of the analysis of the dynamics and structure of socio-economic development (an example of the set of the largest Polish cities in the years 1998–2015)

Abstract

The complexity of the reality studied by geographical research requires applying such methods which allow describing the state of affairs and ongoing changes in the best possible way. This study aims to present a model of research on selected aspects of the dynamics and structure of socio-economic development. The idea was to determine whether we deal with the process of reducing or widening the differences in terms of individual features. The article primarily pursues a methodological goal, and to a lesser extent an empirical one. The methodological objective of the paper was to propose and verify a multi-aspect approach to the study of development processes. The analyses carried out reveal that in terms of the features taken into account in the set of 24 of the largest Polish cities the dominating processes are those increasing differences between cities, which are unfavourable in the context of the adopted development policies aiming at reducing the existing disparities. In relation to the methodological objective, the results of the conducted research confirm the rationale of the application of the measures of dynamics and the feature variance to determine the character (dynamics and structure) of the socio-economic development process of cities. Comparatively less effective, especially for interpretation, is the application of principal component analysis and a multivariate classification, which is mainly the result of differences in the variance of particular features.

Open access