Researching retired ex-servicemen: reflections on ethnographic encounters

The opportunities and challenges that younger, female, civilian researchers can encounter when undertaking ethnographic research with predominantly male military veterans are relatively underexplored sociologically. This is despite a growing literature on reflexivity in military studies over the past decade. To address this gap, we draw on symbolic interactionist insights to examine the reflective account of a British, female researcher in her mid-20s, who conducted qualitative research with 20 ‘older’ (aged 60+) retired servicemen from the Royal British Legion, a United Kingdom charity providing support for military veterans and their families. The study explored ex-servicemen’s embodied experiences of physical activity. The findings presented here cohere around four salient themes identified in the ethnographic reflections: (1) researcher positionality as a young, female, civilian researcher in a traditionally masculine militarised world; (2) managing distressing topics and interactional discomfort; (3) maintaining an ‘ethic of care’; and (4) dilemmas regarding representational issues and ex-servicemen’s embodied experiences.


University of Lincoln, College of Social Science

Rachel Katherine Williams, Canterbury Christ Church University, School of Human and Life Sciences

Jacquelyn Allen-Collinson, University of Lincoln School of Sport and Exercise Science

John Hockey, University of Gloucestershire, Academic Development Unit


Optimising social procurement policy outcomes through cross-sector collaboration in the Australian construction industry

Social procurement policies are an emerging policy instrument being used by governments around the world to leverage infrastructure and construction spending to address intractable social problems in the communities they represent. The relational nature of social procurement policies requires construction firms to develop new collaborative partnerships with organisations from the government, not-for-profit and community sectors. The aim of this paper is to address the paucity of research into the risks and opportunities of entering into these new cross-sector partnerships from the perspectives of the stakeholders involved and how this affects collaborative potential and social value outcomes for intended beneficiaries.


University of Lincoln, College of Social Science

Martin Loosemore, University of Technology, School of the Built Environment
George Denny-Smith, University of New South Wales, Construction and Property Management
Jo Barraket, Swinburne University of Technology, Centre for Social Impact
Robyn Keast, Southern Cross University, School of Business and Tourism
Daniel Chamberlain,  La Trobe University, Department of Public Health
Kristy Muir, University of New South Wales, Centre for Social Impact
Abigail Powell, University of Lincoln, Eleanor Glanville Centre
Dave Higgon, Multiplex
Jo Osborne, DAMAJO


Facial first impressions form two clusters representing approach-avoidance

Existing models of facial first impressions indicate between two and four factors that underpin all social trait judgements. Here, we submitted several large databases of these first impression ratings to unsupervised learning algorithms with the aim of clustering together faces, rather than traits, to examine the ways in which impressions may be grouped together. Experiment 1 revealed two clusters of faces that exist in both a full-dimensional, and two- or three-factor representations, of social impressions, while Experiment 2 indicated that these clusters also emerged in additional datasets. In Experiment 3, using Bayesian modelling approaches, we extracted the impression profile of each cluster and also derived a vector that maximally separated the clusters. The resulting vector related strongly to the valence and approachability components in existing models. In a further test of our model, we showed in Experiment 4 that mere facial appearance, rather than perceptions, is sufficient to separate these clusters, demonstrating probabilistically that facial cues like smiling may drive the perceptual profile that gives rise to the perceptual clusters. Finally, Experiment 5 showed that observer responses to faces in these two clusters mapped closely on to approach-avoidance behaviour, with observers responding rapidly and without instruction to approach faces from one cluster over the other. Taken together, our findings provide compelling evidence, drawing upon both computational and behavioural approaches, that existing models of social impressions are realised practically in terms of basic approach-avoidance mechanisms.


University of Lincoln, College of Social Science Research

Alex Jones, Swansea University, Department of Psychology

Robin Kramer, University of Lincoln, School of Psychology