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Sub-brand to go here. Social Participation and Identity: Combining quantitative longitudinal data with a qualitative investigation of a sub-sample of the 1958 cohort. Jane Elliott (CLS), Andrew Miles (CRESC), Sam Parsons (CLS) & Mike Savage (CRESC). www.cresc.ac.uk.

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Jane Elliott (CLS), Andrew Miles (CRESC), Sam Parsons (CLS) & Mike Savage (CRESC)

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Jane elliott cls andrew miles cresc sam parsons cls mike savage cresc

Sub-brand to go here

Social Participation and Identity: Combining quantitative longitudinal data with a qualitative investigation of a sub-sample of the 1958 cohort

Jane Elliott (CLS), Andrew Miles (CRESC),

Sam Parsons (CLS) & Mike Savage (CRESC)

www.cresc.ac.uk

CLS is an ESRC Resource Centre based at the Institute of Education


Aims of the presentation

Aims of the presentation

  • Introduction to the project

  • The value of our project for studies of participation and identity

  • The British Birth Cohort Studies

  • The NCDS as a resource for the study of participation

  • Sampling strategy and methodology

  • Introduction to the topic guide

  • Issues arising from pilot interviews and preliminary research


Introduction to the project

Introduction to the project

  • OBJECTIVES

  • 1. Provide a resource of 180 transcribed qualitative interviews from a theoretically derived sub-sample of NCDS data.

  • 2. Conduct longitudinal analysis of changing forms of participation and identity, both by analysing the interviews, and through linking them to previous waves of NCDS data.

  • 3. Understand more about cohort members’ experiences of being in the study

  • 4. Understand more about individual lives from the perspective of the individuals themselves – what the quantitative interviews may be missing

  • TIMETABLE

  • 1. November 2007 to April 2010. Interviews conducted October 2008 to April 2009


Benefits of collecting qualitative data from ncds

Benefits of collecting qualitative data from NCDS

  • NCDS is a leading panel study with data stretching back to 1958, with extensive data on work histories, and educational, medical and social variables from previous waves.

  • NCDS offers excellent sampling frame from which to design the study

    • Includes information about responders and non-responders

    • It allows methodological insights – improving ways of asking questions & identifying important aspects of individuals’ lives that we may not be covering

    • Gaining a better understanding of perceptions of cohort members

    • Data in a form that might be more accessible for dissemination to cohort members (improving long term response)


The research team

The Research Team

  • Brings together two major ESRC core-funded research centres:-

  • Centre for Longitudinal Studies (IoE, University of London), with its established profile in longitdudinal analysis and its central role in administering NCDS

  • Centre for Research on Socio-Cultural Change (CRESC, University of Manchester/ Open University) with substantive interests in social and cultural participation, and in linking qualitative and quantitative analysis

  • Team members have disciplinary interests in narrative methods and gender (Elliott), historical analyses of social mobility (Miles), skills and education (Parsons), social stratification and inequality (Savage)

  • Funded by the ESRC Resources Board


Value of the project for studies of participation identity

Value of the project for studies of participation & identity

  • Social participation has become a central policy concern through interests in ‘social capital’, where there are several competing interpretations

  • Is there evidence for the decline of social engagement? (Putnam, Bowling Alone)

  • How far does the existence of social capital allow people, including those from disadvantaged backgrounds, to ‘get ahead’? (Coleman)

  • How far do patterns of participation and socialisation help to reproduce patterns of inequality and elite reproduction? (Bourdieu)

  • How do people form ‘activist’ identities and how does this relate to their social interaction and social ties? (White, Mische)

  • These issues have hitherto been explored nearly entirely using cross sectional data but we need to separate out age, cohort and generational effects.


Probing recent research findings

Probing recent research findings

  • There is evidence of a clear, and growing, class divide in social and cultural participation (Hall 1999; Halpern 2005; Li et al 2008, Bennett et al 2008)

  • There is no clear overlap between formal participation and neighbourhood participation and friendship (Li et al 2003). How can we better understand the relationship between these domains?

  • Evidence for the significance of ‘(s)elective belonging’ in studies of middle class neighbourhoods (Savage et al 2005), but we know little about the historical precedents.

  • Striking age differences in participation (Scherger 2008; Bennett et al 2008) but it is not clear if these are age, cohort, or generational effects

  • Evidence of very strong mobility effects on participation, where it is those who are second-generation ‘service class’ are most predisposed to formal involvements (Goldthorpe et al 1980, Li et al 2008)

  • Important recent emphasis on the role of friendship dynamics for social support (Spencer and Pahl 2005), yet we know little about the longitudinal aspects of these.


British birth cohort studies

British Birth Cohort Studies

  • Fully representative samples of the British population

  • Based on one week’s births - approximately 17,000 babies

  • Followed up from birth into adulthood

  • Four British Birth Cohort Studies

    • 1946 : National Survey of Health and Development (MRC funded)

    • 1958 : National Child Development Study

    • 1970 : British Cohort Study 1970

    • 2000/1: Millennium Cohort Study


1958 birth cohort study

1958 Birth Cohort Study

  • Representative sample of over 17,000 infants born in March 1958 (Perinatal Mortality Study)

  • Sample followed at ages 7, 11, 16, 23, 33, 42, 46 (prospective study)

  • Multipurpose study: family life; education; employment; skills; housing; health; finances; citizenship

  • Focused bio-medical study at age 44 (MRC funded)

  • Approximately 12,000 individuals are still participating

  • Now core funded by ESRC with data collected every four years, including interviews now being conducted at age 50.


Hypothetical life history

Exam results

Parents’ social class

Voting behaviour

Training and skills

Parental divorce

Savings

Gets married

Born

1958

1st Child 1984

2nd Child

1987

Age 11

x

Age 7

Mother smoking

Job 1

Job 2

Job 3

Parental interest in school work

Psychological well being

Domestic division of labour

Working hours preferences

Free school meals

Maths and reading tests

Union membership

Teachers’ assessment of child’s behaviour

Hypothetical life history

Age 16

2000

2004

1991

1981

Age 23

Age 42

Age 46

Age 33


The ncds as a resource for the study of participation

The NCDS as a resource for the study of participation

  • The NCDS has asked relevant questions in previous waves, though they are rarely a major focus, have varied significantly between waves, and have not been analysed extensively.

  • - 1991 extensive battery of questions on attitudes.

  • - regular questions on voluntary association membership.

  • - regular questions on political alignments.

  • - social support (2000).

  • - neighbouring (2000).

  • Questions have not been asked on cultural participation; informal aspects of social interaction and leisure; class and other kinds of identity.


Jane elliott cls andrew miles cresc sam parsons cls mike savage cresc

% men and women participating at age 46 by social mobility


Jane elliott cls andrew miles cresc sam parsons cls mike savage cresc

% men and women participating at age 46 by social mobility

(inc. hobbies and sports)


Sampling strategy and methodology

Sampling strategy and methodology

  • Sampling will be theoretically led rather than a simple random sample

  • 60 cohort members in three geographic regions, SE England, NW England and Scotland (=180 interviews)

  • Stratified in terms of social mobility measured in terms of social class during childhood and highest qualifications, to produce 15 interviews with stable working class, 15 with stable service class, 15 upwardly mobile and 15 downwardly mobile in each region


Structure of the interview and topic guide

Structure of the interview and topic guide

  • Interview in six sections

  • Neighbourhood and belonging

  • Social participation and leisure activities

  • Friendships

  • Life story and trajectories

  • Identities

  • Experience of the NCDS

  • Aim for an average of ninety minute interview

  • Interviews digitally recorded and transcribed verbatim

  • Interviews will be deposited at the UK data archive


Section 1 neighbourhood and belonging

SECTION 1: NEIGHBOURHOOD AND BELONGING

  • We know a bit about your housing history from your survey responses but we would like to know a little bit more about your involvement in your current neighbourhood. Can I begin by asking you how long you have lived here and about the reasons you came to live here?

  • If you are asked where you are from, what would you reply? Do you feel you belong here?

  • What things do you particularly like and dislike about living in this area?

  • Do you think you will continue living here in the future? Under what circumstances might you move and where to?


Section 2 participation

SECTION 2: PARTICIPATION

  • The survey included questions about your spare time interests and activities but we are not sure that these questions gave you enough scope to describe and explain what you do. We therefore want to ask some additional questions.

  • 5. First, could you talk me through your last week and then last weekend in terms of how you spent your spare time?

  • 6. Is this a typical pattern?

  • 7. Do you belong to any organised clubs or formal associations - for example do you attend a church or evening classes, or are you a member of a political party, sports club or musical group?

  • 8. (If not raised above) Do you do any voluntary or charitable work?

  • 9. To what extent does your leisure time and social life overlap with family life?

  • 10. To what extent do your work and social lives overlap?


Section 3 friendships

SECTION 3: FRIENDSHIPS

  • 11. Looking at this page with the five concentric rings marked on, can you please think of those people who are important to you, and write their names in, with those who are most important closest to the centre (allow five minutes for interviewee to complete this)

  • 12. Thank you. For each person you’ve listed – in turn – could you say:

  • Why has that person been placed there (in a specific locations within the

  • 5 circles)?

  • How would you describe your relationship to that person?

  • How often do you keep in touch?

  • What do you talk about?

  • How has your relationship with this person changed in importance or intensity?


Section 4 life stories trajectories

SECTION 4: LIFE STORIES & TRAJECTORIES

  • The NCDS has collected a lot of information about your life over the years. But we’d now like to give you more of a chance to say what has been important in your life and to give us the main points of your life story from your own perspective.

13. Starting with your childhood could you say a bit about

- what kind of child you were

- how you got on at school

- who had the most influence on your life

Followed by questions (14, 15, 16, 17) as prompts on other periods of the respondent’s life, depending on how their narrative develops

18. Summing up, what would you say have been the most important events or turning points in your life?


Jane elliott cls andrew miles cresc sam parsons cls mike savage cresc

19. If you had to depict your life up to now by means of a diagram, which diagram would you choose (show line diagrams sheet and ask them to mark which one with a tick), or if none of these apply, can you draw a more representative pattern in the blank box?


Section 5 identities

SECTION 5: IDENTITIES

  • 20. Generally speaking, could you tell me how you define yourself? Could you describe yourself?

  • 21. And how do you think others see you?

  • 22. Do you think of yourself as belonging to a social class?

  • 23. Which nationality do you think you belong to?


Jane elliott cls andrew miles cresc sam parsons cls mike savage cresc

Stable social class but evidence of upward housing mobility (from council estate to detached house with big garden)

Father partly skilled manual worker, cohort member self-employed electrician

…….came to the end of primary school and they put me down for a grammar school place and I said I didn’t want it. I said if I don’t get on with them here, I’m not going to get on with a whole school of them, so I went to the secondary modern school where me brothers had gone to.

…………occasionally you’d get invited round for tea and, you know, our family was sort of ‘take us as we are’ really, like, you know. But other people were, you know, you did sense a difference……………….

 …………there was one lad over the road, he went to grammar school. But, you know, he lived in a council house like we did, like, you know, but it didn’t do him any better as a job, really. He ended up like, you know, he worked in a magistrate’s court, you know, as a court clerk, perhaps seen to be a good job but at the end of the day not very good money, you know. And to me being self-employed, to be honest with you, me world’s me oyster.

I don’t know what class I’d put meself in, really, but I don’t like it where people do distinguish one from another, really……say like ‘lower’ or ‘middle’ or anything. You find that sometimes when you get to the upper class some of them have had their brains removed, because they’re just so far from reality, to be honest with you.


Jane elliott cls andrew miles cresc sam parsons cls mike savage cresc

Stable social class: no upward mobility

A coalman’s daughter who works in a beach-side café serving burgers and chips. Lived in same council estate all of her life

Working class. Working class. Coalman’s daughter and I’m proud of it. Aye, working class…………my mother was a snob, she was a snob, she was a Tory supporter. Aye, she was…………. my mother had delusions of grandeur…………. “queen”, “the queen”, that’s what he called her

…………..I’ve never had much. I’ve always had enough. You know, work hard for what I’ve got and got what I need. And I’ve never had the yearn to have fancies and go over the top………


Jane elliott cls andrew miles cresc sam parsons cls mike savage cresc

Downward mobility

Father held a professional/managerial job, cohort member is a maintenance manager (gas company)

it [the house grew up in] was in a really good area and my father had a good job, he had a better job than I’ve got now……….

Working class or middle-class? [Sighs] Not really. There’s so much on the radio about how the UK is class structured and perhaps we are, and there’s part of me that’s middle-class, I read a good newspaper and I listen to Radio Four and the World Service. That’s my middle-class………………….. now Elaine that works with me…….her husband is a gas fitter…..they blow their money and he’ll earn at least twice as much as me. Now I would say he’s probably middle/upper-class but they have the money to be middle-class, that’s if you’re looking at that, and they read The Sun…………..


Jane elliott cls andrew miles cresc sam parsons cls mike savage cresc

Class and upward social mobility

Father was an aircraft engineer and cohort member is a teacher

I suppose as a family I considered us working class, although later when I learned the term ‘white collar’ I think actually that’s what we were [laughs], because my dad had a good job, but I think we’ve always thought of ourselves as working class and I still do really……….…… but I suppose if I looked at my life as you’re asking me to do now, then probably it would be more middle class.

[where I live]……it’s quite a middle class area and I suppose subconsciously I’ve thought of it as a step up really, because we grew up in a council house originally and then they bought the council house, but that wasn’t a conscious decision of why I wanted to live here, I just liked the area

 ……suppose when I first went to college that was a bit of a shock to me, meeting people I didn’t know from lots of different walks of life and I did--, I have to say I did feel like I was working class then and they were all educated people, or so I thought were more educated than me, you know, ‘cause I kind of thought that the Open University degree wasn’t as good as if I’d gone to the university for three years. I don’t believe that now but at the time I did.


Section 6 membership of the ncds

SECTION 6: MEMBERSHIP OF THE NCDS

  • Finally, we’d like to find out more about what it has been like for you to be a member of the NCDS - whether it’s been a good and interesting experience, how it might have been improved, whether we’ve been asking the right types of questions, and so on.

  • 24. Do you have any memories of being in the study as a child?

  • 25. What have been the advantages and disadvantages of being in the NCDS as far as you are concerned?

  • 26. Lastly, has being part of the NCDS changed your life at all?


Jane elliott cls andrew miles cresc sam parsons cls mike savage cresc

Being part of NCDS

There’s one thing I’m guaranteed, all of my entire life, is one birthday card.

I’ve always liked being part of it, I’ve always enjoyed being part of it because it’s different and I’m quite proud of it really.

I think I could almost put this in as a landmark in my life.

I haven’t kidded on about anything in my life, warts and all, I’ve been honest and I’ve said it all.

….. I think, you know, it does make you feel special in certain ways, like really…..

I haven’t ever seen anything negative in it actually, not anything negative at all…..I’ve always felt comfortable and I always know that if I don’t want to answer a question I don’t have to………… I think it’s just been fascinating.


Jane elliott cls andrew miles cresc sam parsons cls mike savage cresc

Recognising the importance of NCDS

I can remember becoming part of the NCDS, I didn’t understand it.... I think I’ve just grown to understand it more as I’ve got older and the importance of it and how it’s helping everybody really, that’s what I think.

Well, I think to a certain extent you’ve got to say it’s mainly for helping others, you know. Like you say it’s no benefit to me to do it, but then again it’s no skin off my nose not to do it, so. It’s one of those things like, you know….I don’t see a reason [not to]……

People should take the time and know things about people really, and if it did that, you know, we wouldn’t have half the problems that we do have really, today really, so.

I think it’s interesting that they’re actually following all these people, right through their life and ……they find out comparisons. Aye, I think it’s really…. that’s why I take the bother to, aye, come. I want to be part of it because I’ve been in it all my life.

…..oh I’ll tell them all, I’m quite proud of the fact that I’m [in the study], that they can find out on how people’s lived and compare.


Jane elliott cls andrew miles cresc sam parsons cls mike savage cresc

NCDS over the lifecourse

I remember……when I was about 11 doing something and doing questions, and the thing I remember is that your favourite TV programmes and I had Sports Reel which in England they wouldn’t have known about, you had Match of the Day, we had Sports Reel, …… and I also put something like Panorama, I thought, ‘I’ll show you’………

I can remember…would I be six…..and they had me hopping and you had to hop on each leg…..and I can remember they had a paper carton for you to look through, close one eye and I could only do it with one eye, and I remember getting embarrassed that I couldn’t close this other eye and look…….. I tell folk about it [now] and …… I tell them about the eyes and it’s my party piece kind of thing. “Try this,” I’ve actually got toilet roll things out and made folk do it…..[laughs]….So I’ve had a bit of fun with it along…..

No cons, no cons [inaudible 1:26:30], and I would probably think that in doing it, it gives you a chance to think about yourself…………. I don’t know if it’s deliberately done at certain stages in your life, but 50 I think’s quite a big milestone and a bit of thinking going on


Issues arising from the pilots

Issues arising from the pilots

  • The NCDS is itself an important agent for its members’ identities. How do we best generalise from our sample?

  • Evidence for the value in recognising informal aspects of social participation. Do our friendship questions mesh with the rest of our schedule?

  • How important is it to generate systematic information on weekly leisure schedules and have a complete account of informal social life?

  • Do we need to ask more systematically about experiences of work and employment?

  • How do we best elicit narrative on trajectory and changing forms of identity (should we ask about key turning points? About each decade/ period of respondent’s lives systematically? How do we best deal with recall bias?


Website

Website

www.cls.ioe.ac.uk

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