Socialinė teorija, empirija, politika ir praktika
ISSN / EISSN : 1648-2425 / 2345-0266
Published by: Vilnius University Press (10.15388)
Total articles ≅ 244
Latest articles in this journal
Published: 29 July 2021
Socialinė teorija, empirija, politika ir praktika, Volume 22, pp 101-115; https://doi.org/10.15388/stepp.2021.32
This article analyzes the relationship between the social and climate policies of the European Union member states and examines the concept of the eco–social state. In the climate crisis era, the need for a close link between social and climate policies is particularly acute. The European Green Deal and other EU strategies reflect a political agenda with a specific interest in social and ecological goals. We aim to answer whether more significant state efforts in the social field are related to a similarly more substantial commitment in climate policy or whether a greater focus on one means less attention on another. On a theoretical level, we discuss the challenges of climate change for social policy and present the concept of climate justice. The similarities and differences between the ecological and the welfare state are also examined. We argue that the concept of climate justice highlights the phenomenon of a double and even triple injustice on a global level, which requires joint efforts in spheres of social and climate policy. Eco-social state combines social and environmental institutions intending to ensure welfare and sustainability and thus complements the traditional concept of the welfare state. The Koch-Fritz (2014) classification, which distinguishes between the established, deadlocked, emerging, and failing eco-social states, is presented in the paper and used for the empirical analysis. The empirical part of the paper employs non-parametrical correlation and hierarchical cluster analysis. The former allows for exploring the links between the ecological and social indicators. The latter enables countries to be grouped according to social and climate indicators and compared to the traditional classification of welfare states and Koch-Fritz models of eco-social states. The analysis is based on social and climate indicators of the Europe 2020 strategy. The study found that countries that provide relatively more significant funding for traditional social problems also perform better in climate change adaptation and mitigation policies by reducing greenhouse gas emissions in an effort–sharing sectors and final energy consumption. We show that clusters of the EU member states in terms of social and climate indicators (eco–social state models) are very similar to their membership in the traditional welfare states’ classification. Moreover, social democratic welfare states are better prepared to address climate change than countries representing other types of welfare states. Thus the analysis confirms the social democratic welfare states as established eco–social states, while the conservative-corporate and liberal welfare states can indeed be called deadlocked eco–social states with average results. We show, however, that Lithuania, together with other Eastern European and Southern European countries, fluctuates on both the best and the worst social and climate change mitigation outcomes. Hence those should be attributed to a group with the mixed results and can be named as failed-emerging eco-social states.
Published: 29 July 2021
Socialinė teorija, empirija, politika ir praktika, Volume 22, pp 116-135; https://doi.org/10.15388/stepp.2021.33
Although volunteering is not a new topic in social research, many questions about people’s motivation to engage in voluntary activities still remain open. The article analyzes the changing attitudes towards volunteering in contemporary society, the demographic profile of volunteers, their intrinsic motivation and the cultural value orientation that supports it. The main purpose of this article is to identify the impact of main sociodemographic and personal characteristics in people’s decision to volunteer. Data from European Values Surveys (1990, 1999, 2008, 2017) are used for this purpose. The presented research data provide valuable insights into long-term trends in the development of volunteering in Lithuania, important socio-demographic determinants of volunteering and changing individual motivation to engage in volunteering. As the analysis reveales, although demographic factors – gender, age, education, occupational employment – are important, they only become meaningful when analyzed along with personal characteristics of respondents (such as life satisfaction, trust in people, belief that one is in control of own life) and their value orientations (such as caring, creativity, stimulation, and the pursuit of social justice). In other words, volunteers cannot be treated as a demographically homogeneous group. This means that in order to effectively mobilize people for a specific volunteering activity, it is necessary to take into account not only which socio-demographic groups are generally more likely to be involved, but also the values that are most important to them when planning volunteering strategies and communication. Understanding the determinants of volunteering can serve as a guideline for the development of volunteer-friendly public policies and for properly motivating people to become involved in volunteering, both at the level of the state and specific public organizations.
Published: 15 July 2021
Socialinė teorija, empirija, politika ir praktika, Volume 22, pp 88-100; https://doi.org/10.15388/stepp.2021.31
This interdisciplinary article presents a concept of the 21st century and phenomena that are products of the 4th industrial revolution – big data and Artificial Intelligence technologies – as well as the opportunities of their application in public governance and social policy. This paper examines the advantages and disadvantages of big data, problems of data collection, its reliability and use. Big data can be used for the analysis and modeling of phenomena relevant to public governance and social policy. Big data consist of three main types: a) historical data, b) present data with little delay, c) prognostic data for future forecasting. The following categories of big data can be defined as: a) data from social networks, b) traditional data from business systems, c) machine-generated data, such as water extraction, pollution, satellite information. The article analyzes the advantages and disadvantages of big data. There are big data challenges such as data security, lack of cooperation in civil service and social work, in rare situations – data fragmentation, incompleteness and erroneous issues, as well as ethical issues regarding the analysis of data and its use in social policy and social administration. Big data, covered by Artificial Intelligence, can be used in public governance and social policy by identifying “the hot spots” of various phenomena, by prognosing the meanings of variables in the future on the basis of past time rows, and by calculating the optimal motion of actions in the situations where there are possible various alternatives. The technologies of Artificial Intelligence are used more profoundly in many spheres of public policy, and in the governance of COVID-19 pandemics too. The substantial advantages of the provided big data and Artificial Intelligence are a holistic improvement of public services, possibilities of personalization, the enhancement of citizen satisfaction, the diminishing of the costs of processing expenditure, the targeting of adopted and implemented decisions, more active involvement of citizens, the feedback of the preferences of policy formation and implementation, the observation of social phenomenas in real time, and possibilities for more detailed prognosing. Challenges to security of data, necessary resources and competences, the lack of cooperation in public service, especially rare instances of data fragmentation, roughness, falseness, and ethical questions regarding data analysis and application can be evaluated as the most significant problems of using big data and Artificial Intelligence technologies. Big data and their analytics conducted using Artificial Intelligence technologies can contribute to the adequacy and objectivity of decisions in public governance and social policy, effectively curbing corruption and nepotism by raising the authority and confidence of public sector organizations in governance, which is so lacking in the modern world.
Published: 21 June 2021
Socialinė teorija, empirija, politika ir praktika, Volume 22, pp 74-87; https://doi.org/10.15388/stepp.2020.30
Despite the potential of Pierre Bourdieu’s sociology to advance debates of urban studies, this potential is so far used only superficially. In this article I take arguments from the debate on gentrification as an example to show how Bourdieu’s sociology could help us look through the common sense notions of urban studies. But despite the critique for the debate on gentrification, I argue that we should keep on approaching these empiric locations. They enable us to produce sensitive stories on the effects that social forces have on our everyday lives in cities and – in particular – to show the role that housing policy has in the reproduction of power relations.
Published: 11 June 2021
Socialinė teorija, empirija, politika ir praktika, Volume 22, pp 59-73; https://doi.org/10.15388/stepp.2021.29
In this paper, using data obtained from the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE), previously experienced unemployment links to the subjective well-being of older adults in the Baltic States are analyzed. One of the global challenges faced by a considerable number of countries is the aging of society. Subjective well-being of older adults and its factors are becoming one of the fundamental issues of the research as older adults are becoming a bigger part of society, and it becomes critical to understand what makes their lives wholesome. According to the life course perspective, human development is a lifelong process, and various events, personal life experiences may shape people and their lives. Therefore, it can be assumed that such a significant event as previously experienced unemployment may be related to the subjective well-being at older ages. Thus, this study aims to analyze the links between previously experienced unemployment and the subjective well-being of life of older adults in the Baltic States. Data obtained from the 7th wave of the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE) was used for the analysis (Bergmann et al., 2019; Börsch-Supan, 2020). Two thousand eight hundred five responses of Estonians, 941 of Lithuanians, and 809 of Latvians over the age of 50 were analyzed. The subjective well-being, previously experienced unemployment, socio-demographic, personality, and health factors were analyzed. Research results show that many factors predict the subjective well-being of older adults in the three Baltic States: sociodemographic data can explain around 11% of the variance of the subjective well-being. Income additionally explains 2%, factors related to a person’s health adds 11% to the explanation, personality traits – also 11%, previously experienced unemployment – less than 1%. In the model containing all the factors, the most important predictor was personality trait neuroticism, and the model explained 35% of the variance of the subjective well-being. The subjective well-being was not linked only to gender and living with a partner. By analyzing the links between previously experienced unemployment and subjective well-being, we found that these links are relatively weak, although they remain even when controlling a range of factors of subjective well-being.
Published: 26 May 2021
Socialinė teorija, empirija, politika ir praktika, Volume 22, pp 44-58; https://doi.org/10.15388/stepp.2021.28
This paper focuses on women who have left the industry of prostitution and is based on ethnographic field studies conducted in several cities in Lithuania. Four women have agreed to share their stories of entering and leaving the industry of prostitution and in all their narratives the core accent was the experience of shame. During the interviews, each of these women had an urge to express the importance of moral virtues in their lives and, as all of them claimed, they felt ashamed because “they have lost their femininity.” It was very important for these women to emphasize that they are not “easy going” or “loose women,” but women who have high moral standards and that entering the industry of prostitution was never the idea of their own, it was rather the consequence of several different factors varying from manipulations of their pimps to their poor social and financial circumstances. It is evident that these 4 women understand femininity as opposed to the work which women in prostitution do (providing sexual service). According to their narratives, women in prostitution, due to the aspect of providing sexual service to many male clients, lose the virtue of femininity, and that is the main factor generating the experience of shame. Due to experience of shame, all these women could not share their traumatic experiences with their families or even close friends. The construction of femininity in Lithuania is heavily influenced by the cult of Mother Mary and the doctrine of innocence. Therefore, the division of women into the categories of the Madonna and the Whore is still very much prominent in the Lithuanian society today. According to the Code of Administrative Offenses, prostitution in Lithuania is categorised as a crime against morality, and both the client and the sexual service provider must be fined. Nevertheless, the data shows that disproportionately very few clients get punished compared to the sexual service providers, mainly women. While non-governmental organisations are putting their efforts to focus the attention of society and the law institutions onto the client and in that way to put an end to the stigmatisation of women in the industry of prostitution, since both the client and the provider of sexual services are needed for the act of prostitution, in reality no social rehabilitation programs in social politics exist for these women in Lithuania today, apart from the help they receive from non-governmental organisations. Therefore, they are left to cope with the traumatic experience on their own, while the stigmatisation of women in prostitutions persists. Empirical material confirms the hypothesis that the experience of shame, which is based on the construction of femininity and the system of moral virtues in the society, reflected in the law defining prostitution in Lithuania, creates certain psychological and social configuration. Due to this configuration, these particular women experience social isolation. Therefore, their rehabilitation from the trauma period is prolonged and new obstacles in achieving well-being in their lives emerge.
Published: 21 May 2021
Socialinė teorija, empirija, politika ir praktika, Volume 22, pp 28-43; https://doi.org/10.15388/stepp.2021.27
The deinstitutionalization of social care in Lithuania started in 2012 after the adoption of the strategic guidelines by the Ministry of Social Security and Labour. The goal of this reform was to improve the care conditions and introduce new community-based services for persons with disabilities. Almost ten years of the reform resulted in only five percent of persons with disabilities who moved to community settings, mainly group-living homes. The slow-motion of the reform, as well as the tensions in the communities, suggests the need for a thorough analysis of the process of deinstitutionalization and its improvement. Bronfenbrenner’s ecological theory is applied as a conceptual and methodological tool for understanding the roles of deinstitutionalization agents at different levels, including the Ministry of Social Security and Labour, municipalities, non-governmental organizations, social care institutions, and local communities. All of these agents are involved and diversely interact among themselves during the transformation process of the social care system. The ecological theory provides the necessary integrated approach to the analysis of the process of deinstitutionalization of the social care system at the micro-, meso-, exo-, and macro levels. Deinstitutionalization and the trajectories of its participants reveal resilient connections with different fields of the ecological system and show that different system components not only represent different systems but become microsystems themselves that affect all elements in the ecological system. The complexity of environmental systems constitutes the basis of ecological systems theory. It serves as a lens to guide the analysis of the transformation of a particular person’s life in the context of deinstitutionalization. Herewith, it is an appropriate tool for understanding the impact of deinstitutionalization on specific local communities.
Published: 8 March 2021
Socialinė teorija, empirija, politika ir praktika, Volume 22, pp 8-27; https://doi.org/10.15388/stepp.2021.26
Clients of social workers have elevated suicide risks. One of those types of clients are people with eating disorders. Suicidality is associated with attitudes towards suicide. Although the suicidality of people with eating disorders is well-studied, their attitudes towards suicide have received less attention. The object of this research is to study the attitudes among people with eating disorders – 126 participants took place in this research: 63 people with eating disorders (anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder, other eating disorders) and 63 people without eating disorders. All the participants with eating disorders at the time of the research were receiving treatment at the Center for Eating Disorders (VšĮ Vilnius Mental Health center). The majority of participants were women (92%), with an average age of 25 years. All the respondents filled in an Attitudes towards suicide questionnaire (ATTS) and its supplement. The results showed that participants with eating disorders perceived suicide as less predictable and associated it with loneliness more than participants without eating disorders. Attitudes of people with anorexia nervosa and with bulimia nervosa towards suicide did not differ significantly. Participants with anorexia nervosa perceived suicide as less predictable, showed more nonintrusive attitudes towards suicide and associated it with loneliness more than participants without eating disorders. Attitudes towards suicide among people with bulimia nervosa and people without eating disorders did not differ significantly. The results could be explained by considering the characteristics of people with eating disorders and the methodology of this research. Recommendations for social work practice were formed based on the findings.
Published: 28 December 2020
Socialinė teorija, empirija, politika ir praktika, Volume 21, pp 96-121; https://doi.org/10.15388/stepp.2020.25
The purpose of this article is to present the results of cash social assistance (CSA) benefit non-take-up in the context of the CSA system reform in Lithuania. The right to adequate minimum income benefits is one of the 20 key principles under the European Pillar of Social Rights (EPSR). Using the tax-benefit microsimulation model EUROMOD we seek to identify all those eligible to CSA benefit and to analyse its non-take-up rates in Lithuania. The analysis for 2016 showed that CSA benefit non-take-up in Lithuania was around 22%. This means that around one fifth of those who are entitled to this benefit do not get it for various reasons. The results show that there are two types of households, with a non-take-up rate exceeding 30%: single person and lone parent households. The dynamics of CSA benefit non-take-up between 2007-2016 were strongly negatively correlated to the annual average number of recipients of the CSA benefit. This makes for a counter-cyclical dynamic of the CSA non-take-up relative to the economic growth cycle. We find some evidence of an increase in the CSA non-take-up rate following the recent CSA reform in Lithuania. Further analysis is needed to distinguish between the effects of the economic cycle and the CSA reform.
Published: 28 December 2020
Socialinė teorija, empirija, politika ir praktika, Volume 21, pp 66-85; https://doi.org/10.15388/stepp.20.23
There have been a lot of interest in social economics development in Europe, and social business has stood out for its social impact, having a potential approach to such societal problems as social exclusion, poverty, unemployment. The creation of social capital and social entrepreneurship are related by positive social change and economic benefits, which are achieved through personal and community bonding, innovation, and social initiatives. Social business has stood out for its social impact, having a potential approach to such societal problems as social exclusion, poverty, unemployment. The aim of the present article is to reveal social entrepreneurship impact on building social capital in Lithuanian communities. For this reason, a qualitative study was conducted based on social business activities related to community change, as well as identifying the interrelations between social business and social capital. This article introduces the theoretical approach of concepts social capital and community, followed by discussion of social business benefits and impact on the growth of community’s social capital. The results of the analysis of the research data were analytically coded based on grounded theory methodology and reveals the potential and perspective of social business in creating social change in the community following by building new relationships, trust and values, and new norms for community development. The positive changes initiated by social business are relevant to the goals of social work and reveal the need of further research in this field.