Outstanding Sociology dissertations
Tuesday, 21 August 2018
Recent BA Sociology graduates Katy Partington and Malgorzata Rudnicka have received top marks for their dissertations analysing contemporary issues such as ‘lad culture’ and whether people are pushed into early retirement.
Katy Partington’s dissertation: The Importance of Friendship in the Social Construction of Masculinity within an Academic Environment enabled her to graduate with a first.
Katy’s supervisor was Dr Alexandra Macht, whose research bridges the sociology of emotions, with the field of critical studies of men and masculinities, and that of family and personal relationships.
Katy chose to study the impact of notions of masculinity, as the topic for her dissertation. This was based upon her own experience of witnessing what is generally referred to as 'lad culture' amongst many of her male friends and acquaintances during her time as a student.
There are a range of examples of contemporary portrayals of young men at university, which often focus on the negative ways through which they construct their masculinity, including binge drinking and 'laddishness'. Her study aimed to address the current literature gap, by assessing the importance of friendship in influencing the varying constructions of masculinity within the UK academic context.
Katy found that as men progress through university and develop close and meaningful friendships, they become increasingly less inclined to conform to the hegemonic masculine ideal, that legitimises men’s dominant position in society.
Her dissertation demonstrated the need to challenge negative and unilateral understandings of masculinity within a university environment and reiterated the importance of extensive future research in this area. Her research could allow administrators and policy advisors within higher education institutions, to provide more effective and well-directed support to young men, who sometimes find their university experience overwhelming.
Malgorzata Rudnicka tackled a very different topic: The reasons why people take up early retirement and what the best predictors are. She received 90 marks and achieved the accolade of the best Humanities and Social Sciences dissertation 2018.The topic was fuelled by policy concerns to reduce public expenditure on pensions and social welfare. Her results have provided evidence that some of the ageing population may be prematurely pushed out of the labour market. This is a vital finding for the government and policymakers that are facing the challenge of a population with an increasing old-age dependency ratio.
Malgorzata’s supervisor was Dr Irmak Hazir, whose research focuses on the lived experience of class, inequality, embodiment and cultural classifications. Malgorzata is now going onto to study an MSc in Public Policy & Management, at King's College London.
You can find out more about a range of topics that explore social relationships and social institutions, through Oxford Brookes’ undergraduate Sociology courses.