There is a strong culture of research activity in the Department of Social and Political Science which informs academic teaching at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Staff are engaged in research of both national and international significance and are also involved in publication, peer review, professional practice, postgraduate training and Knowledge Transfer activities. A number of PhD students supervised by Social Studies and Counselling staff also contribute to the vibrant research culture of the department and are usually offered both teaching and publication opportunities. There is an active research culture in the department with regular research seminars at which staff and postgraduate research students present their most recent work. Research and scholarship has developed and flourished around a number of key areas in the department: Criminology; Sociology, Health and Social Policy; International Development; Political Communications; Counselling and Trauma.

Recent Submissions

  • Exploring the impact, value and limitations of reflective practice groups for clergy in a Church in Wales diocese

    Gubi, Peter Madsen; University of Chester
    This research explores the impact, value and limitations of reflective practice groups for Clergy in a Church in Wales diocese. The aims were to explore what participants of reflective practice groups experience as the impact, value and limitations of their groups, and to better understand any implications for delivery of reflective practice groups for Clergy. Two focus groups comprising of the participants from two reflective practice groups from a diocese in the Church in Wales were interviewed, and the data analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. Two superordinate themes emerged along with ten subordinate themes. The key findings are that the participants of both groups clearly found them to be a valuable experience and self-defined the impact on their ministries as: creating more reflective clergy; developing greater wisdom; building and gaining affirmed strategies that they could take back into relationships within their parishes; enabling a different perspective to be gained on management expectations; development of self-preservation strategies for coping with those expectations; improvement in practice and relationships within their work; improving their priestly skills; managing boundaries more appropriately; approaching meetings more positively; managing situations in more helpful ways; and discerning what God may be saying in certain situations.
  • Shifting Models of Energy Companies towards Green Economy in Europe

    Fernandez, Rosa M; University of Chester
    The traditional model of European energy company has been characterised by big entities that usually play a relatively important role as national champions in terms of market share, assets value, vertical integration, political influence and employment volumes, among other factors. However, last decade has seen how these big dinosaurs are losing market power in favour of new actors. On one side Russian and Chinese competitors have started showing interest in the Western European energy sector, and they are developing purchasing strategies to acquire part of the business in different countries, taking advantage of the vulnerable financial position that many of these companies suffer. On the other side having been unable to change their business models away from the focus on fossil fuels into the renewable energies sector has made traditional companies lose market share in favour of a new model of companies, smaller in terms of assets but quite focused on a market segment with a privileged institutional support, particularly thanks to the European Union targets for 2020 on renewable energy. This chapter uses the framework of green economy as the one that approaches macroeconomic issues through innovative ways, promoting green investments through the most adequate regulatory measures, and considering green energy as one of the sectors where these investments should be focused. Bearing this in mind, the chapter will try to point out the existing constraints to reach the new model of development (sustainable development, as promoted by a green economy) and also the barriers that energy companies impose themselves through old fashioned strategies that do not take into consideration the wider demands from a much larger group of stakeholders in a changing society. It will also address the changing governance framework caused by recent political events such as Brexit and the shifting EU institutional discourse towards 2030 targets.
  • Trade Barriers

    Fernandez, Rosa M.; University of Chester (Springer Nature, 2020-09-30)
    A basic definition of trade barriers could be ‘all factors that influence the amount of goods and services shipped across international borders’ (Feenstra and Taylor, 2017a). This definition is quite neutral, and it needs to be understood that the word ‘barrier’ has a negative connotation, which means that a trade barrier would be any instrument that limits or restrict trade between countries, as opposed to free trade. It is generally accepted that free trade is good for productivity and economic growth, but it is also true that most countries apply some sort of trade restriction, for different reasons.
  • Factors that may continue to impact a mother’s emotional wellbeing once her child’s treatment for cancer has completed and their implications for ongoing support

    Hill, Lynda; Gubi, Peter Madsen; University of Chester; The Joshua Tree Foundation
    This research explores factors that may continue to impact a mother’s emotional wellbeing once her child’s treatment for cancer has completed. Research indicates that, contrary to a general expectation of experiencing joy as treatment ends, some families experience very mixed emotions, with fear playing a large part, both leading up to treatment completion and, for some, continuing post-treatment. However, there is no literature that explores a mother’s emotional wellbeing after a number of years’ post-treatment. This research is a contribution towards addressing that deficit. Five mothers were interviewed using semi-structured questions to gather data relating to their specific lived experiences. These were analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. Results indicate that although end of treatment was longed for, there continues to be much uncertainty and fear post-treatment, and this can continue years after treatment has ended. Mothers described changes within themselves (e.g. new attitudes to living) and a need to adapt to a ‘new normal’. There were elements of grief for the loss of family life with which they were once so familiar. There was also a strong sense of wanting to support others, so that their own experiences weren’t wasted. All participants recognised that further counselling support for themselves would be beneficial.
  • Welsh Primary Schoolchildren’s Perceptions of Electronic Cigarettes: A Mixed Methods Study

    Porcellato, Lorna; Ross-Houle, Kim; Quigg, Zara; Harris, Jane; Bigland, Charlotte; Bates, Rebecca; Timpson, Hannah; Gee, Ivan; Bishop, Julie; Gould, Ashley; et al.
    There are concerns that the growing popularity of e-cigarettes promotes experimentation among children. Given the influence of the early years on attitude and habit formation, better understanding of how younger children perceive vaping before experimentation begins is needed, to prevent uptake and inform tobacco control strategies. We explored Welsh primary schoolchildren’s (aged 7–11) awareness of e-cigarettes relative to tobacco smoking, their understanding of the perceived risks and benefits and their intentions and beliefs about vaping. Data was collected using a mix of methods in June and July 2017 from 8 purposively selected primary schools across Wales. Four hundred and ninety-five children (52% female) aged 7 years (n = 165), 9 years (n = 185) and 11 years (n = 145) completed a class-administered booklet encompassing a draw and write exercise and survey. Ninety-six children participated in 24 peer discussion groups comprised of 2 boys and 2 girls from each year group. Data were analysed independently and findings triangulated. Survey analyses used frequencies, descriptive statistics and chi-squared tests. Content analysis was undertaken on the draw and write data and peer discussion groups were analysed thematically. Study findings highlight that primary schoolchildren have general awareness of e-cigarettes. Vaping was perceived to be healthier than smoking and there was some recognition that e-cigarettes were used for smoking cessation. Understanding of any health harms was limited. Few children intended to smoke or vape in the future but almost half thought it was okay for grownups. Children’s perceptions were influenced by exposure through family and friends. Findings suggest a need for e-cigarette education in primary schools, to highlight the associated risks of e-cigarette experimentation including the potential for tobacco initiation.
  • Is person-centred counselling effective when assisting young people who have experienced bullying in schools?

    Jones, Callum; University of Chester
    The effects of bullying on children have profoundly been researched; however, there is a gap in research on how therapy can assist children who are bullied. The aim of this research was to understand how person‐centred therapy may assist individuals who are being bullied within the school environment. Methodology Person‐centred therapy was chosen as it is the author's profession. When pursuing his master's degree and the allied research programme, the author conducted the therapy. This research was performed using interpretative phenomenological analysis. The researcher worked with four research participants, and the contributors were individuals who had left school due to childhood bullying. The participants also underwent person‐centred therapy to work through the issues that bullying had caused them. A series of interviews were conducted with the participants using pre‐decided questions. These interviews were then transcribed, and key themes were found within the text. The themes, and the subordinate themes, include the following: Childhood bullying in the context of the experience of support, and the absence of support leading to trauma. Bullying as a multifaceted experience, and bullying as an emotional communication. Childhood bullying and its association to adult mental health and adult experiences of anxiety. How person‐centred counselling helped participants, and gaining support in schools. Conclusions The article found that in the school environment a lack of emotional support added to the trauma that the victims experienced from bullying. Bullying was experienced individually, but each participant reported it being an emotional way of communicating. The bullying the participants experienced during school lead to mental health problems in adulthood, the most reported mental health condition was anxiety. Finally, the article explored how the person‐centred approach assisted participants, whilst most participants found the approach to be very useful. A few participants believed that the limitations of the person‐centred approach lead to less exploration, many wished for techniques to help them cope with their bullying experiences something that CBT might be more adequate for.
  • An exploration of alcohol advertising on social networking sites: an analysis of content, interactions and young people’s perspectives

    Atkinson, Amanda; Ross-Houle, Kim; Begley, Emma; Sumnall, Harry; Liverpool John Moores University; University of Chester
    Young people increasingly communicate and interact via social digital media such as Social Network Sites (SNS), where they discuss and display alcohol-related content. SNS have also become an important aspect of the alcohol industry’s multi-platform marketing strategies, which may contribute to the creation of intoxigenic digital spaces in which young people learn about alcohol. This paper presents findings of a content analysis of the extent, nature, and user interaction with SNS-based alcohol marketing for brands popular among young people in the UK. It provides a systematic analysis of both official and user generated marketing content on brand Facebook and Twitter profiles, and user interaction with such content. Findings from peer group interviews (N = 14) also present young people’s (N = 70) perspectives and experiences regarding alcohol marketing on SNS. New SNS engagement marketing strategies extended existing multi-platform brand marketing. Young people interacted with such strategies as part of their identity-making practices, yet through a discourse of immaturity distanced themselves from certain brands, online marketing practices and the idea that their own actions were influenced by marketing. Local night life economy marketing appeared more meaningful and relevant to young people and led to further interaction with brand marketing. Implications of the findings are discussed in relation to the influence of alcohol marketing on young people, and the implications for current regulatory frameworks
  • Impact Assessment of Holiday Provision in West Cheshire, 2019

    Francis, Michael; Dunne, Seona; Fernandez, Rosa M.; University of Chester
    This piece of work analyses the impact of holiday activity and food provision in deprived areas of West Cheshire, with the intention to reflect on the impact in children, their families and the wider community and assess the need for this provision, and the need to continue funding these initiatives in the future.
  • Content, perceptions and impact of alcoholic drink promotions in nightlife venues that are targeted towards students

    Ross-Houle, Kim; Quigg, Zara; University of Chester; Liverpool John Moores University
    Binge drinking is generally considered socially acceptable for students across Western culture. Social norms within the student population have meant that excessive drinking plays a key role in socialising and reinforcing peer group identity. Research has highlighted the United Kingdom (UK) as having elevated levels of alcohol consumption especially within the student population, and the role that drink promotions have in influencing consumption practices. This paper considers promotions of alcoholic drinks in UK nightlife venues and student perceptions of these promotions. Bourdieu's concepts of social and cultural capital are applied to the findings. Method Content analysis of social media posts by nightlife venues (n = 12), observations of nightlife venues (n = 20) and semi-structured focus groups and paired interviews with 32 undergraduate students, from one city in the North West of England. Results Nightlife venues target promotions of alcoholic drinks at students through social media, advertisements throughout nightlife venues, and by promoters outside of venues. These promotions will often influence the course of a night out in terms of venues visited and the drinks consumed. Alcohol holds importance within mainstream student culture; it plays a key role in achieving cultural capital and is a means for students to obtain social capital through the creation of shared experiences, which are key for those who are new to university. Conclusions Nightlife venues will target alcoholic drink promotions at students and will use the notion of creating a shared experience as part of this targeted promotion. This contributes to the overall social and cultural capital that alcohol holds within the student population. This is an important consideration for alcohol policy – it demonstrates how prevention activities need to take into consideration the importance of shared experiences for the students; alternatives to excessive alcohol consumption need to offer a similar opportunity.
  • Energy Governance in Spain

    Crespo, Laura; Fernandez, Rosa M.; Campos Martin, Jose M.; CSIC; CEDEX; University of Chester
    Spain is lagging behind in the transition to a sustainable energy system compared to other EU member states. Its unique position as an energy island, coupled with errors in energy planning inherited from previous government regimes, constitute a legacy that makes changes in the system difficult to achieve. Current political instability adds to the difficulties, under a governance framework characterised by lack of coordination and supremacy of the central government in the decision making process, in an environment where traditional energy companies still exert lobby power. The continuous changes in the regulatory framework of the energy sector have hindered investments in low carbon sources of energy due to perceived uncertainty. Small changes in the right direction are being observed though, with a more prominent role expected from the local levels of government. But many measures still originate on requirements linked to EU commitments and more initiatives at the national level need to be seen.
  • Mass Indebtedness and the Luxury of Payment Means

    Horsley, Mark; Lloyd, Anthony; University of Chester; University of Teesside (Routledge, 2020-01-08)
    Without the remarkable explosion of the credit industry since the early 1990s it’s almost inconceivable that late capitalism, in its neoliberal mode, could have maintained the vibrant and multifaceted consumer markets of the last few decades. Its capacity to create payment means by attaching contractual claims to prospective futures has allowed capitalism to transcend the decline of its material productivity, sustaining consumption against the upward concentration of wealth. In this chapter we consider both the source and the implications of that transcendence, tracing it from the rarefied confines of the financial industry into the lives of consumers to explore the implications of distributing payment means as a kind of ‘systemic luxury’ running counter to the material productivity of prevailing systems and processes.
  • Staff as mental health supporters: building confidence and capacity in helping students

    Reeves, Andrew; University of Chester (Sage, 2019-09-28)
    This chapter considers the factors staff working in higher education need to be aware of in supporting students who present with mental health problems. A range of skills and training resources and considered, including good practice indicators.
  • “It is not the same”: relationships and dementia

    Benbow, Susan Mary; Tsaroucha, Anna; Sharman, Victoria (Informa UK Limited, 2019-08-28)
  • Girls being Rey: ethical cultural consumption, families and popular feminism

    Wood, Rachel; Litherland, Benjamin; Reed, Elizabeth (Informa UK Limited, 2019-08-29)
  • An exploration of the ways in which feelings of ‘maternal ambivalence’ affect some women

    Gubi, Peter M.; Chapman, Emma; University of Chester; Private Practice (Sage, 2019-08-18)
    This study explores the ways in which feelings of “maternal ambivalence” affect women. Through semistructured interviews, four women spoke about their experiences that led to ambivalent feelings about their motherhood. The data gathered from these interviews were analyzed using Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis. This research found that these women experienced a loss of independence, relationships, and confidence when they became mothers. Together, these losses felt like a loss of “self” which led to many unexpected and unwanted feelings. They were shocked and confused when they experienced feelings of resentment towards themselves, others, and their children. They also experienced unexpected feelings of boredom and anxiety in relation to mothering. However, with time and perspective, these women experienced a reemergence of “self” through their ability to begin to balance parts of “self” and accept their ambivalent feelings towards motherhood.
  • Book Reviews

    Gutelius, Beth; Gibson, Janet; Zunino Singh, Dhan; Gold, Steven J.; Portmann, Alexandra; Cox, Peter; Volti, Rudi; Drummond-Cole, Adrian; Spalding, Steven D. (Berghahn Books, 2017-12-01)
    Matthew Heins, The Globalization of American Infrastructure: The Shipping Container and Freight Transportation (New York: Routledge, 2016), 222 pp., $145 (hardback)Lesley Murray and Susan Robertson, eds., Intergenerational Mobilities: Relationality, Age and Lifecourse (London: Routledge, 2017), 194 pp., 14 illustrations, $145 (hardback)Sebastián Ureta, Assembling Policy: Transantiago, Human Devices, and the Dream of a World-Class Society (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2015), 224 pp., 22 illustrations, $39 (hardback)Yuk Wah Chan, David Haines, and Jonathan H. X. Lee, eds., The Age of Asian Migration: Continuity, Diversity, and Susceptibility, vol. 1 (Newcastle on Tyne, UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2014), 450 pp., £54.99Robert Henke and Eric Nicholson, eds., Transnational Mobilities in Early Modern Theater (Farnham: Ashgate, 2014) 320 pp., 22 illustrations, $117 (hardback)Ruth Oldenziel and Helmuth Trischler, eds., Cycling and Recycling: Histories of Sustainable Practices (Oxford: Berghahn Books, 2016), 256 pp., 18 illustrations, £67 (hardback)Margo T. Oge, Driving the Future: Combating Climate Change with Cleaner, Smarter Cars (New York: Arcade, 2015), xv + 351 pp., $25.99 (hardback)Thomas Birtchnell, Satya Savitzky, and John Urry, eds., Cargomobilities: Moving Materials in a Global Age (New York: Routledge, 2015), 236 pp., 16 illustrations, $148 (hardback)Jacques Lob and Jean-Marc Rochette, Snowpiercer 1: The Escape, trans. Virginie Sélavy (London: Titan Comics, 2014), 110 pp., $19 (hardback)
  • Breaking up with Jesus: a phenomenological exploration of the experience of deconversion from an Evangelical Christian faith to Atheism

    Lee, Karen A.; Gubi, Peter M.; University of Chester (Taylor & Francis, 2019-06-10)
    This study examines the experience of deconversion from an Evangelical Christian faith to Atheism in the UK. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with six participants and the data were analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. The resulting superordinate themes emerged: Process of Deconversion; Post Deconversion Issues; What Helped and Did Not Help. The findings are supportive of similar research conducted on deconversion but are from the UK, rather than from a largely American, perspective. The underlying reason for deconversion is found to be cognitive dissonance and, as such, deconversion is a rational and intellectual process. Helping professionals need to convey a non-judgemental attitude, being understanding, sympathetic, supportive and kind.
  • Celebrity ambassador/celebrity endorsement – takes a licking but keeps on ticking

    Proctor, Tony; Kitchen, Philip J. (Informa UK Limited, 2018-01-25)
  • Building a case for accessing service provision in child and adolescent mental health assessments

    O'Reilly, Michelle; Kiyimba, Nikki; Lester, Jessica N. (Sage, 2019-04-29)
    In everyday conversations, people put forward versions of events and provide supporting evidence to build a credible case. In environments where there are potentially competing versions, case-building may take a more systematic format. Specifically, we conducted a rhetorical analysis to consider how in child mental health settings, families work to present a credible ‘doctorable’ reason for attendance. Data consisted of video-recordings of 28 families undergoing mental health assessments. Our findings point to eight rhetorical devices utilised in this environment to build a case. The devices functioned rhetorically to add credibility and authenticate the case being built, which was relevant as the only resource available to families claiming the presence of a mental health difficulty in the child were their spoken words. In other words, the ‘problem’ was something constructed through talk and therefore the kinds of resources used were seminal in decision-making.
  • Moving Forward: New frontiers in treatments for psychological trauma

    Kiyimba, Nikki (Wiley, 2019-04-11)
    Both the Diagnostic and Statistics Manual (DSM 5), and the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) embed PTSD (and complex PTSD in the ICD-11) as categories of mental health disorders. Although these classification tools offer criteria by which patients can be assessed as to whether they meet the criteria for diagnosis of PTSD, or complex PTSD, they are not able to provide guidance on treatment options. This special section of Counselling and Psychotherapy Research showcases three very new approaches to working with psychological trauma. The first paper by Kip and Finnegan introduces Accelerated Resolution Therapy (ART), which is a brief intervention protocol that is already demonstrating very promising early results, particularly within the military veterans community of those also experiencing traumatic brain injury (TBI). The second paper by psychiatrists Frank Corrigan and Alistair Hull, demonstrates the ways in which the Comprehensive Resource Model (CRM) is an excellent choice of treatment for those suffering from complex post-traumatic stress disorder (CPTSD). The third paper by Brochmann et al., explores the ways in which therapists can work effectively with groups of people who have experienced psychological trauma. Regarding the impetus of moving forward in tailoring treatments for those experiencing PTSD, the papers presented in this special issue provide a valuable starting point to discussions about treatments best suited for particular sub-populations of PTSD sufferers.

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