Monday, 13 September 2021

Press Release 13/9/21: Literacy Strategy – Sociologists call for Social Impact Assessment

The Malta Sociological Association (MSA) welcomes the fact that a national literacy strategy for all is being proposed by the Government. 

In this regard, MSA is proposing that the strategy  factors in and takes account of social impacts and the intersection of various variables.

The strategy should incorporate and mainstream social impact assessments, to ensure greater outreach and deliberation with stakeholders. 

Various methods, both quantitative and qualitative could be used within social impact assessments.  SIAs should involve the participation of different stakeholders. Analytic indicators should be provided and the entire process should be subject to peer review by independent experts in the field. This could help identify shortcomings and possible improvements to the same SIA.

SIAs should not be one-off exercises: They should be ongoing processes which engage with various stakeholders and which report back so as to ensure effective policy processes. They should also use complementary research methods so as to ensure reliable and valid data.

We refer to international SIA standards, for example those set by the International Association for Impact Assessment: 

 https://www.socialimpactassessment.com/documents/IAIA%202015%20Social%20Impact%20Assessment%20guidance%20document.pdf

Michael Briguglio

Public Relations Officer MSA

 

Thursday, 29 July 2021

Why Sociology?

In this article, MSA Public Relations Officer Dr Michael Briguglio presents an invitation to sociology.

You can read the article from this link:

Why sociology? - The Malta Independent



Friday, 16 July 2021

Press Release: Local Government Public Consultation – MSA calls for stronger social functions

With respect to the public consultation exercise entitled ‘Local Government Policy 2021’, the Malta Sociological Association has submitting the following recommendations to Government:

1.       Local Councils should have a stronger local function, for example in community initiatives and everyday matters. The Covid-19 pandemic has shown how important it is to have grounded policy making initiatives which reach out to various social groups in an increasingly diverse society. These also include persons and groups who lack social networks, those who are less integrated in society and those who have less access to the basic needs of everyday life.

 

2.      Local Council decision making should be guided by evidence. In particular, local councils should employ continuous social impact assessment (SIA) processes, to ensure greater outreach and deliberation with stakeholders, through both quantitative and qualitative research methods, and subject to independent peer-review. SIAs could produce valuable evidence for policy formation and implementation.



Thursday, 17 June 2021

Press Release: Dementia Public Consultation – MSA sends feedback

The Malta Sociological Association has submitted the following feedback to the Ministry for Senior Citizens and Active Ageing (Social Care Standards Authority) regarding the public consultation on  Social Regulatory Standards – Residential Services for persons living with dementia

 The Malta Sociological Association welcomes the fact that public consultation about residential services for persons living with dementia is being carried out by Government.

 The MSA has the following feedback: 

 While Standard 1: Residents’ Rights is certainly a step in the right direction, conceptually speaking, human rights are different from human needs, and as such, the Standards make no reference to ‘advance care planning’. This refers to people thinking about, discussing and recording their wishes and decisions for future care. It is about people planning for a time when they may not be able to make some decisions themselves. In other words, advance care planning involves people making plans about what they want to happen while they are alive. This is different from people making plans about what should happen when they die. This is why this is especially important for people with dementia. Two forms of advance care planning which the Standards are best to include are the following:

 

Making statements about future needs and wishes. People can say what they would like to happen if they lose capacity to make decisions in the future. This can cover care, support and treatment. While these statements don't need to be written down, it is best to do this. It is also important to decide the best place to keep these statements so that the right people can refer to them when needed. For example, general practitioners could keep a copy as could a relative or friend, and it might be attached to a care plan. Examples include: I would want to stay in my own home as long as possible / I would only want to be supported with personal care by women / I would want to continue to have a glass of wine with my evening meal.

 

Making advance decisions to refuse treatment. Some advance statements could be about medical treatments that a person would not want, were they to lose capacity to make decisions about these in future. Some examples include: I would not want a blood transfusion because of my religion / I would not want any further chemotherapy for my cancer, in the event of my cancer reaching stage IV.

 

Quality Indicator 5: The service provider shall appoint an events coordinator and shall encourage the residents to actively take part in planning and participation in social and leisure activities is again a step in the right direction. However, it is highly lamentable that - despite the fact that learning is a fundamental human right - the Standards consider persons with dementia as an ‘education wasteland’.  Indeed, notwithstanding the fact that numerous research studies demonstrated people with dementia can learn something new, the Standards treat life with dementia in residential care facilities as incompatible with learningIn other words, residential care facilities for persons with dementia are typically viewed as settings where older adults go to spend their final days, not to fulfil their potential. As ageing experts are aware, most studies on learning and dementia to date have had an outspoken focus on how rehabilitative interventions can be implemented in order for people living with dementia to relearn information or abilities that they once knew. However, most care standards for persons living dementia have been occupied with containment rather than expansionon retaining familiar activitiesrather than enabling novel learning experiences. Lamentably, these Standards are no exception, something which we find very peculiar indeed, since the Maltese academic community is fortunate enough to include an academic geragogist (Marvin Formosa), something that few other countries have at their disposal. 

 The MSA is also proposing that this policy process employs a continuous social impact assessment (SIA) process, to ensure greater outreach and deliberation with stakeholders, through both quantitative and qualitative research methods, and subject to independent peer-review.  An SIA could produce valuable evidence for policy formation and implementation.


Thursday, 3 June 2021

Call for Proposals - Academic Events

Dear Members,

The Malta Sociological Association, through its Academic Events Subcommittee, is planning to hold a series of scholarly events in the coming months. This will comprise seminars on published research, work in progress seminar series, and exploration of sociological themes and issues. 

For this purpose, we are hereby inviting you, as MSA member, to send us your proposal/s to maltasociologicalassociation@gmail.com

Friday, 28 May 2021

Press Release: Future of Europe Conference - MSA submits its feedback

The Malta Sociological Association (MSA, registered Voluntary Organisation) has submitted its feedback to the  Conference for the Future of Europe, an EU-wide initiative which is currently in place.

MSA welcomed the Conference and adding that such public consultation should be mainstreamed across EU institutions and at different levels of governance.

MSA proposed that EU legislative options should measure, quantify and consider of the various costs of insularity experienced by small states, islands and isolated regions. This should then guide policy formation accordingly.

In its second proposal, MSA proposed that EU legislative options should factor in and take account of social impacts and the intersection of various factors.

The MSA text submitted to the Future of Europe conference reads as follows:

Small States and Social Impacts: proposal by the Malta Sociological Association

EU legislative options should measure, quantify and consider of the various costs of insularity experienced by small states, islands and isolated regions. This should then guide policy formation accordingly.

EU legislative options should factor in and take account of social impacts and the intersection of various factors.

EU legislative options mainstream social impact assessments , to ensure greater outreach and deliberation with stakeholders. 

Various methods, both quantitative and qualitative could be used within social impact assessments.  SIAs should involve the participation of different stakeholders. Analytic indicators should be provided and the entire process should be subject to peer review by independent experts in the field. This could help identify shortcomings and possible improvements to the same SIA.

SIAs should not be one-off exercises: They should be ongoing processes which engage with various stakeholders and which report back so as to ensure effective policy processes. They should also use complementary research methods so as to ensure reliable and valid data.

We refer to international SIA standards, for example those set by the International Association for Impact Assessment:


Tuesday, 25 May 2021

Press Release: Towards a Modernised Corrective Legal System: Malta Sociological Association Presents Proposals

The Malta Sociological Association (MSA, registered Voluntary Organisation) has submitted its feedback to the Ministry for Home Affairs, National Security and Law Enforcement about the White Paper Towards a Modernised Corrective Legal System: The Government’s vision of having modern corrective systems, whilst safeguarding the victims of crime, Public Consultation on an Electronic Monitoring legislation.

In this regard, MSA welcomed the public consultation, adding that in moving towards modernised corrective legal system, there should be an ongoing process of social impact assessments. SIAs could provide valuable evidence for policy formation, the implementation and enforcement on electronic monitoring.

 

SIAs are recommended by MSA as they would give a holistic picture about various opportunities, risks, changes and impacts which take place across time and space. Such legislation will impact both the persons eligible for electronic monitoring as well as society at large. SIAs include a close insight about: how the eligible persons for electronic monitoring would feel wearing a tracker that could be visible; the impact of stigma; how society at large feels and behaves when encountering a person with a tracker; as well as how the co-workers and colleagues at educational institutions respond, amongst others.


  Various methods, both quantitative and qualitative could be used within social impact assessments. The former refers to generalisable data especially through numbers, while the latter produce in-depth data on matters. Research methods in SIAs may therefore include, for example, quantitative perception surveys and qualitative methods which involve a deeper look into social realities.

 

Besides, expert interviews may verify the advice, concerns and interpretations of persons who are experts or who have experience in the respective field under analysis. 

 

SIAs should involve the participation of different stakeholders, ideally through mixed research methods. Analytic indicators should be provided, and the entire process should be subject to peer review by independent experts in the field.  This means that if a study is being carried out by a team of scientists (social, natural etc.), this should be scrutinised by other independent scientists. This could help identify shortcomings and possible improvements to the same SIA.

 

In its feedback, the MSA referred to international SIA standards, for example those set by the International Association for Impact Assessment, which is accessible from this link:

 

 https://www.socialimpactassessment.com/documents/IAIA%202015%20Social%20Impact%20Assessment%20guidance%20document.pdf  

Sunday, 16 May 2021

Press Release: Post-Covid Strategy: Malta Sociological Association presents proposals

The Malta Sociological Association (MSA, registered Voluntary Organisation) has submitted its feedback to the  Ministry for Research, Innovation and the Co-ordination of Post Covid-19 Strategy about the Public Consultation on Thematic Areas underpinning Malta’s National Post Pandemic Strategy

MSA welcomed the drift of the public consultation, adding that this should be an ongoing process and not just a one off exercise.

Whilst we fully understand the government’s need to plan a timeline to return to a post-covid situation, we recommend that this should be interpreted as a social process with various opportunities, risks, changes and impacts which take place across time and space. It is also important to take heed of lessons learned during the process and to value the intersection of medical, economic, social, political, cultural, and other factors at individual, community, local, societal, national, and transnational levels.

In this regard, MSA proposes that  the consultation exercise employs an ongoing social impact assessment process for all areas, to ensure greater outreach and deliberation with stakeholders.  An SIA could produce valuable evidence for policy formation and implementation.

We emphasize that this should not be one-off exercise: To the contrary, assessments should be ongoing processes which engage with various stakeholders and which report back so as to ensure effective policy processes. They should also use complementary research methods so as to ensure reliable and valid data.

 Various methods, both quantitative and qualitative could be used within social impact assessments. The former refers to generalisable data especially through numbers, while the latter produce in-depth data on matters. Research methods in SIAs may therefore include, for example, quantitative perception surveys and qualitative methods  which involve a deeper look into social realities.

Besides, expert interviews may verify the advice, concerns and interpretations of persons who are experts or who have experience in the respective field under analysis. 
 
SIAs should involve the participation of different stakeholders, ideally through mixed research methods. Analytic indicators should be provided and the entire process should be subject to peer review by independent experts in the field.  This means that if a study is being carried out by a team of scientists (social, natural etc.), this should be scrutinised by other independent scientists. This could help identify shortcomings and possible improvements to the same SIA.

In its feedback, the MSA referred to international SIA standards, for example those set by the International Association for Impact Assessment, which is accessible from this link:

Thursday, 15 April 2021

Press Release: National Autism Strategy - MSA reaction

The Malta Sociological Association (registered VO) welcomes the fact that a National Autism Strategy is being proposed for Malta for the period 2021-30.

In this regard, the MSA submitted its comments to the Autism Advisory Council within the Ministry for Inclusion and Social Wellbeing. As an Association which advocates evidence-based policy making, the MSA suggested that the proposed strategy and consultation exercise employs a social impact assessment, to ensure greater outreach and deliberation with stakeholders. Such a tool should be a continuous process, and not a one-off exercise.

 

In its official feedback, the MSA submitted a number of features which can be included in the SIA process.



Monday, 12 April 2021

Press Release: Cannabis White Paper requires a social impact assessment - Malta Sociological Association

In its feedback to the Parliamentary Secretariat for Civil Rights and Reforms on the White Paper on Cannabis Policy, the Malta Sociological Association (registered Voluntary Organisation) proposed that  the proposal and consultation exercise employs a social impact assessment process, to ensure greater outreach and deliberation with stakeholders.

 "An SIA could produce valuable evidence for policy formation and implementation.  Various methods, both quantitative and qualitative could be used within social impact assessments. The former refers to generalisable data especially through numbers, while the latter produce in-depth data on matters. Research methods in SIAs may therefore include, for example, quantitative perception surveys and qualitative methods  which involve a deeper look into social realities."

"Besides, elite interviews may verify the advice, concerns and interpretations of persons who are experts or who have experience in the respective field under analysis." 

 "SIAs should involve the participation of different stakeholders, ideally through mixed research methods. Analytic indicators should be provided and the entire process should be subject to peer review by independent experts in the field.  This means that if a study is being carried out by a team of scientists (social, natural etc.), this should be scrutinised by other independent scientists. This could help identify shortcomings and possible improvements to the same SIA."

"Social impact assessments should not be one-off exercises: To the contrary, they should be ongoing processes which engage with various stakeholders and which report back so as to ensure effective policy processes. They should also use complementary research methods so as to ensure reliable and valid data."


In its feedback, the MSA referred to
 international SIA standards, for example those set by the International Association for Impact Assessment, which is accessible from this link:

 https://www.socialimpactassessment.com/documents/IAIA%202015%20Social%20Impact%20Assessment%20guidance%20document.pdf  

Sunday, 14 March 2021

The Sociology of COVID-19: Book launch, Webinar



Press Release
Book Launch webinar of the two Volume Series COVID-19 (edited by J. Michael Ryan)
Volume I: Global Pandemic, Societal Responses, Ideological Solutions
Volume II: Social Consequences and Cultural Adaptations

On Wednesday 24th March, 6pm a public webinar and book launch on the the Sociology of COVID-19 will be hosted by Routledge Publishers, The Department of Sociology (University of Malta) and the Malta Sociological Association.
The webinar will examine the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on individuals, communities, countries, and the larger global society from a social scientific perspective. It will discuss a timely and critical advance in knowledge related to what many believe to be the greatest threat to global ways of being in more than a century. This webinar represents a response to the imperative that academics take their rightful place alongside medical professionals as the world attempts to figure out how to deal with the current global pandemic, and how society might move forward in the future.  
More details on how to register may be obtained from www.maltasociologicalassociation.com






Saturday, 27 February 2021

MSA elects committee for 2021

The Malta Sociological Association has elected its committee for 2021 during its annual general meeting which was held virtually due to the Covid-19 situation.

The committee comprises:

Chairperson: Bridget Borg
Vice-Chairperson: Mariella Debono
Secretary: Jude Cauchi
Treasurer: Roberta Scerri
Public Relations Officer: Michael Briguglio
Events Officer: Joslyn Saliba
Outreach Officer: Aeden Chetcuti
International Relations Officer: Ljiljana Cumura
Training Officer: Brian Chircop
Committee Member: Valerie Visanich

During the coming year, MSA will be working in various spheres to promote sociology as a discipline, as a subject of study, as a policy tool, and as a profession. MSA is a registered voluntary organisation.

One can follow the MSA on Facebook, Twitter and Blogger through the following links:


To join or renew one's MSA membership, one can check out the following link:



Friday, 5 February 2021

ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING 2021

The Annual General Meeting of the Malta Sociological Association will be held on Friday 26th February 2021 at 18.00 on Zoom (An online link will be shared closer to the date). The meeting is open to paid members of the MSA and those interested in joining the MSA. Members interested in joining the meeting should inform us by the 24th February by emailing the MSA.

Members are encouraged to renew their membership. To renew membership or join MSA, please click here.
 
Nominations for specific positions on the Executive Committee may be sent via email to MSA and addressed to the Secretary. The subject of the email should be: Nominations MSA Committee. Nominations will be received until the 19th February 2021. Only members of the MSA may submit a nomination for the Executive Committee.
 
The positions that need to be filled are the following:
 
• Chairperson
• Vice Chairperson
• Events Coordinator
• Outreach Coordinator
• International Relations Officer
• Public Relations Officer
• Treasurer
• Secretary
 
Regards
Jude Cauchi
MSA Secretary