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Social Science in the Public Sphere
- Riots, Class and Impact
Introduction by
Professor Patrick Dunleavy
2nd July 2013
#LS...
Social Science in the Public Sphere
Reading the Riots
Tim Newburn
@TimNewburn
Department of Social Policy
The 2011 riots
• Thurs 4th August: Mark Duggan
shot
• Sat 6th August: Tottenham
• Sun 7th August: Wood Green,
Enfield, Bri...
The riots: reaction
• But nobody doubts that the violence we
have seen over the last five days is the
symptom of something...
Phase one: timetable
August September October November December
6-9th Riots 5th Launch project 3-4th Interviewer training ...
An unusual project: staffing
• Directed by:
– Guardian and LSE
With:
– Journalists
– Freelancers
– Analysts
- Interviewers...
An unusual project: publication…
• Phase One
– 6 days early December 2011
• Rioters & the police
• Looting
• Gangs
• Socia...
Impact?
• 23 pages in Guardian in Dec ‘11
• Further 10/11 pages in July ‘12
• 2 Newsnight ‘specials’; BBC verbatim
drama; ...
Advantages of working with a
news organisation
• Speed
• ‘Can do’ culture
• Flexibility
• Access
– Powerful
– Powerless
• ...
Challenges of working with a
news organisation
• Speed
• ‘Cultural’ contrasts
– Methodological contrasts
• Interviewing
• ...
Impact?
• RtR had great ‘impact’ in one sense,
but perhaps not in REF terms
• REF Impact case studies:
– Summary of impact...
Thank you…
All project materials (reports, articles, films etc) available at:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/series/reading-...
Class and Impact
Some Reflections on the Great
British Class Survey
Sam Friedman Fiona Devine
Project Team: Mike Savage, N...
• Over 7 million hits on the BBC website
• NYT most ‘shared’ world news story of
2013
• One of most tweeted articles in hi...
Emergent Service Workers of the World Unite!
‘A political party - but the good kind’
The Story of
the GBCS
• Project developed in conjunction with BBC’s Lab
UK
• Attempted to establish ‘public value’ via:
• ...
The GBCS: The Results
• Seven Classes Identified
GBCS GfK
• Elite 22% 6%
• Established Middle Class 43% 25%
• Technical Mi...
The GBCS: Two Headlines
• Clear POLARISATION between top and bottom with
identification of elite often overlooked in surve...
What did not go so well?
Methodological Issues
• Representativeness of web survey a problem. Heavily
skewed to advantaged ...
What did not go so well? Change,
Time and Analysis
• Working with an organisation and people going through
change. Instiga...
What did not go so well?
Focus on public Discussion
Not easy translating
complex academic
findings into media friendly for...
What went well: Optimising
BBC resource
• Huge resources of BBC behind launch of web
survey. Mike Savage on The One Show.
...
What went well?: Despite
everything, it happened!
• Lots of unfunded research time went into project.
Could well have not ...
What went well: GBCS and
other experiments
• The Big Personality Test 16,580
• Brain Test Britain 5,194
• The Web Behaviou...
Lessons learnt: the research
In no particular order…….
patience, patience, patience and hanging in there
maintaining good ...
Lessons learnt:
from impact
In no particular order….
You have very little control of course!
You have to take the bad with...
Thank you!
Sam Friedman
Fiona Devine
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Social Science in the Public Sphere: Riots, Class and Impact

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Event on 2 July 2013 with Prof Tim Newburn discussing the Reading the Riots project and Prof Fiona Devine and Dr Sam Friedman discussing the Great British Class Survey.

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Social Science in the Public Sphere: Riots, Class and Impact

  1. 1. Social Science in the Public Sphere - Riots, Class and Impact Introduction by Professor Patrick Dunleavy 2nd July 2013 #LSEimpact
  2. 2. Social Science in the Public Sphere Reading the Riots Tim Newburn @TimNewburn Department of Social Policy
  3. 3. The 2011 riots • Thurs 4th August: Mark Duggan shot • Sat 6th August: Tottenham • Sun 7th August: Wood Green, Enfield, Brixton • 8th August: Ealing, Camden Town, Kingsland Rd, Barking, Enfield, Notting Hill, Hackney, Peckham, Camberwell, Croydon, Clapham, Bromley, Merton, Birmingham, Liverpool, Nottingham • 9th August: Woolwich; West Bromwich; Wolverhampton; Birmingham; Nottingham; Manchester; Salford; Gloucester Croydon Tottenham Birmingham
  4. 4. The riots: reaction • But nobody doubts that the violence we have seen over the last five days is the symptom of something very deeply wrong with our society… Why does a violent gang culture exist in so many of our towns and cities? • This is criminality, pure and simple, and it has to be confronted and defeated. • What I found most disturbing was the sense that the hardcore of rioters came from a feral underclass, cut off from the mainstream in everything but its materialism.
  5. 5. Phase one: timetable August September October November December 6-9th Riots 5th Launch project 3-4th Interviewer training Early: start planning launch & conference 5th Findings: Policing ‘Newsnight special’ 16th First conversation between Paul Lewis & Tim Newburn 5th Advertise for interviewers 5th Fieldwork begins Mid: Fieldwork ends 6th Findings: Looting; poverty 22nd Start planning project 19th Shortlisting 11th Analysis begins End: initial analysis ends; write-up starts; planning phase two 7th Findings: Gangs; policing 24th Start talking to funders From 19th Recruit analytical team From 17th Recruit ‘fixers’ 8th Findings: Social media w/b 26th Seek ethical approval w/b 17th Start sharing data analysis 9th Findings: Ethnicity 23rd – 28th Recruit fieldworkers 10th Findings: Gender; phase two 14th LSE Conference
  6. 6. An unusual project: staffing • Directed by: – Guardian and LSE With: – Journalists – Freelancers – Analysts - Interviewers (over 30 in all)
  7. 7. An unusual project: publication… • Phase One – 6 days early December 2011 • Rioters & the police • Looting • Gangs • Social media • Policing, victims • Phase Two – 3 days early July 2012 • Policing • Victims/vigilantes • Criminal justice system
  8. 8. Impact? • 23 pages in Guardian in Dec ‘11 • Further 10/11 pages in July ‘12 • 2 Newsnight ‘specials’; BBC verbatim drama; Today programme; all major news bulletins; over 50 media interviews on launch day alone; • Responses to RtR from: Home Secretary; Shadow HSec; Leader of Opposition; Archbishop of Canterbury; Justice Minister; Commissioner of the Met Police; ACPO… • Evidence to Home Affairs Committee; Victims and Communities Panel • Shortlisted for THES ‘research project of the year’ 2012 • Winner ‘Innovation of the Year’, British Journalism Awards
  9. 9. Advantages of working with a news organisation • Speed • ‘Can do’ culture • Flexibility • Access – Powerful – Powerless • ‘Reach’ – TV; radio; newspapers; opinion formers; politicians; general promulgation • Resources – Multi-media; data visualisation • (The one thing you don’t worry about is whether you have a ‘story’)
  10. 10. Challenges of working with a news organisation • Speed • ‘Cultural’ contrasts – Methodological contrasts • Interviewing • Rigour – The story in advance? – The headline – Focusing on ‘ends’ or ‘means’? • Reputation (works both ways) – When not to mention The Guardian – When not to mention the LSE
  11. 11. Impact? • RtR had great ‘impact’ in one sense, but perhaps not in REF terms • REF Impact case studies: – Summary of impact – Underpinning research – References to research – Details of impact – Sources to corroborate • Challenges for RtRs: – Non-traditional publication – No obvious means of citation – Directly critical of current policy direction – Timetable..
  12. 12. Thank you… All project materials (reports, articles, films etc) available at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/series/reading-the-riots tter@TimNewburn
  13. 13. Class and Impact Some Reflections on the Great British Class Survey Sam Friedman Fiona Devine Project Team: Mike Savage, Niall Cunningham, Mark Taylor, Yaojun Li, Johs. Hjellbrekke, Bridgitte Le Roux.
  14. 14. • Over 7 million hits on the BBC website • NYT most ‘shared’ world news story of 2013 • One of most tweeted articles in history of social science (altmetric.com) • One of the most popular and controversial pieces of sociology ever conducted in UK • A model for the future? April 3rd 2013 An Explosive Launch
  15. 15. Emergent Service Workers of the World Unite! ‘A political party - but the good kind’
  16. 16. The Story of the GBCS • Project developed in conjunction with BBC’s Lab UK • Attempted to establish ‘public value’ via: • The creation of peer-reviewed scientific knowledge • Popular content for BBC broadcast and web • Web survey launched in Jan 2011 with much fanfare • 161,000 participants - largest survey on class ever!
  17. 17. The GBCS: The Results • Seven Classes Identified GBCS GfK • Elite 22% 6% • Established Middle Class 43% 25% • Technical Middle Class 10% 6% • New Affluent Workers 6% 15% • Emergent Service Workers 17% 19% • Traditional Working Class 2% 14% • Precariart <1% 15%
  18. 18. The GBCS: Two Headlines • Clear POLARISATION between top and bottom with identification of elite often overlooked in survey research and a precariat which is not insignificant in size • Obvious FRAGMENTATION at the middle with the divide between the establish middle class and traditional middle class not so clear but and important groups in between
  19. 19. What did not go so well? Methodological Issues • Representativeness of web survey a problem. Heavily skewed to advantaged middle classes. Typical BBC audience? • Disadvantaged working classes underrepresented. Even those replying would not have been typical. Higher cultural capital? • BBC funded a face to face survey sample survey to facilitate a more representative picture. • Required clever statistical analysis when national survey results were weighted to web survey. Took lots of advice. • Some members of the academic community not overly impressed. Colin Mills and Danny Dorling quick off the mark.
  20. 20. What did not go so well? Change, Time and Analysis • Working with an organisation and people going through change. Instigator, Philip Trippenbach, left for a new job on launch day. • Initial lack of ownership, working with different sets of people coming and going, frequent meetings on project on what it was about etc. • Different conceptions of time for BBC team and academic team. Could not come up with quick results. • Early results and preliminary reports not especially liked. Important `reboot’ was an important turning point which turned things around.
  21. 21. What did not go so well? Focus on public Discussion Not easy translating complex academic findings into media friendly formats. Did with the BBC Class Calculator and it has just won a prize But interest rarely went beyond calculator Sometimes assumed calculator was all there was! Preoccupation with place in which of seven classes
  22. 22. What went well: Optimising BBC resource • Huge resources of BBC behind launch of web survey. Mike Savage on The One Show. • Attention generated the high level of participation in survey at the beginning. • Resource came in again with launch of results. Fiona Devine on BBC Breakfast. • Increased participation again with a further 200,000 doing the full web survey.
  23. 23. What went well?: Despite everything, it happened! • Lots of unfunded research time went into project. Could well have not seen the light of day. Stuck with it and it did but……! • A couple of critical people. Richard Cable stayed interested even though he moved on to pastures new. • Michael Orwell, BBC producer, stayed with the project the whole time, was patient and understood the academic issues at stake. • Never any threats to our autonomy. Desire for a news story, something highlighting change, but no particular interventions
  24. 24. What went well: GBCS and other experiments • The Big Personality Test 16,580 • Brain Test Britain 5,194 • The Web Behaviour Test 2,896 • The Stress Test 11,764 • The Big Money Test 17,120 • The Big Risk Test 23,420 • How Musical are You? 29,853 • The Get Yourself Hired Test 5,981 • Test Your Morality 22,183 • Can You Compete Under Pressure 11,270
  25. 25. Lessons learnt: the research In no particular order……. patience, patience, patience and hanging in there maintaining good relationships with key folk making the best when the situation is not ideal understanding needs and pressures on both sides being flexible and creative to continue to make progress research always messy, this project as messy as any other scientific value of work will take time to be established
  26. 26. Lessons learnt: from impact In no particular order…. You have very little control of course! You have to take the bad with the good Cannot be too precious or churlish Important things being learnt from public reaction New data for analysis which becomes part of the project It is a ride but it is massive fun
  27. 27. Thank you! Sam Friedman Fiona Devine

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