Skip to main content

Session 10A-10B 17:30-19:00 // day one

10A - Cultures & International Development University of Warwick and University of Leeds

Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) number 5 on gender inequality arose because of the recognition that women are still subject to gender-based violence, own less than 20% of the world’s land, are isolated from decision making in politics and business, receive less pay for the same work and make up the majority of the world’s poor. This need for a developmental policy which is gender aware has encouraged the use of gender quotas in more than a hundred countries. This paper draws on both qualitative and quantitative research to examine whether quotas could help achieve SDG5 by looking at case studies of three countries, India, Rwanda, and Norway to cross-examine the effectiveness of quotas at different levels of development as well across two different sectors in government and business. India and Rwanda provided important case studies on the use of quotas in developing countries where the needs of girls and women is focussed more on improving the equitable allocation of resources in health and education as well as the prohibition of gender-based violence. In comparison, Norway provided a good example of developed countries which exhibit equality in access to health and education, and often have significant participation of women in government, but where women’s decision making in business remains low. Quotas were found to be successful in improving the descriptive representation of women i.e. the number of women elected, but only in the developing countries of India and Rwanda and in the sector of government were quotas effective in improving the substantive representation of women i.e. bringing about changes in legislation or shifts in policy towards women’s needs. Quotas were ineffective in business and in the developed country of Norway where Elected women representatives (EWR) were more hesitant to ‘beat the feminist drum’ for fear of not being taken seriously as business women. Whether it is the business environment or the attitudes of women in business that constrain EWR’s ability to improve women’s situation is an area for further research.

The Moscow Metro was portrayed as a way to improve the lives of Moscow workers, but by contrast served the underlying political function of masking the suffering of Soviet workers. This dramatic contrast offers an illustrative case study to examine the contemporary use of prestige projects in international politics. Such projects claim their aim is to improve quality of life for the people; however, my research questions if these government commissions fulfil an underlying ulterior function, in addition to the supposed function of improving the lives of the public.

To see how the Metro was portrayed, I examined contemporary letters between British socialists and English language media clippings I found in the Modern Record Centre archives. In comparing the narrative depicted to historical accounts and urban development studies, the gap between the claimed benefits and the reality was demonstrated. By investigating these discrepancies in the Metro as well as other case studies, I explore how governments use prestige projects to mask the more complicated issues in society such as; affordable housing, effective transport and high unemployment rates. These issues seem obscured by the tactical use of prestige projects to broadcast a glorified version of their nation rather than fully addressing the problems society is experiencing.

Previous studies of prestige projects have approached them from a predominantly economic standpoint. Patrick Loftmann and Brendan Nevin (1995) state that the main motive behind governments commissioning prestige projects are business prospects and attracting people from outside the locality; however, my research shows this is often not the case. This highlights how the reasons behind commissioning prestige projects are too complex to look at from a single perspective, such as economics, therefore my research suggests taking an interdisciplinary approach to gain a deeper understanding of this subject.

It is widely known that during the Twentieth Century the Soviet Union was a strong Communist superpower, supposedly founded upon egalitarian values. However, were these ethics adhered to, or did the Bolshevik Government perpetuate the same imperialist policies they had overthrown? Current literature only partially answers these questions by examining either the Russian or Chinese perspective in isolation, restricting our understanding of early Far Eastern relations. This research collated and built upon the existing arguments by utilising contemporary documents to provide a fuller, more balanced, examination of Russo-Chinese relations, which has the potential to develop our understanding of current international relations.

This investigation utilised primary source material, such as the memoirs of key figures, foreign policy documents, and political manifestos, to ascertain that the Soviets interest in China had imperial foundations. These documents revealed intimate details about the roles of Soviet diplomats, and the incompatibility of China with Communism despite the Bolsheviks public rhetoric.

Secondary source material was also consulted to examine the pervasiveness of Soviet imperialism in the Far East, specifically regarding Outer Mongolia, Manchuria, and Japan. This revealed greater details about the Soviets differing levels of respect for both Far Eastern nations, and the differing nationalist elements within China.

This research found that the Soviet Union’s aims in the Far East were the consolidation of their power and protection of national interests, contrary to their public rhetoric of the need to stimulate international revolution. These findings will be expanded upon in the future through a close examination of China’s Communist journey under Mao, and the development of Communism in Vietnam.

How adequate are lawyer training programmes in preparing White solicitors and barristers to successfully understand, engage with and represent their Black, Asian and ethnic minority (BAME) clients? This question was in response to the Lammy Review (2017) which highlighted the persistent and disproportionately negative outcomes experienced by BAME individuals within the criminal justice system (CJS).

The project was framed by reviewing literature on 'race', 'Whiteness', and 'White privilege', examining statistics that reported racial disparities at each stage of the CJS, looking at diversity reports for the lawyering profession, and by reviewing the course content of the Legal Practice Course and the Bar Professional Training Course.

Through semi-structured interviews, participants displayed a disengaged awareness of their racialized identity; they relayed that their training was absent of any discussion on 'race', 'Whiteness', 'White privilege', and the development of personable skills such as empathy; and that in situations that required any knowledge of this kind, it was their (White) life experience that informed their actions.

In light of the above, a curriculum that incorporated discussions on 'race', 'Whiteness', and 'White privilege', and the development of personable skills such as empathy, would have (at least) three identifiable benefits. It has the potential to increase awareness of the status and power the 'White' racialized identity holds in our racialized society; to de-centre the White perspective in the lawyer-client relationship; and, in line with the Lammy Review (2017) that shaped this work, to work towards more positive outcomes for BAME individuals in the CJS.

10B - Stress, Sleep & Cells University of Warwick and Baruch College, City University of New York

Introduction

Obstructive Sleep Apnoea/Hypopnoea Syndrome is characterised by recurrent narrowing and/or closing of the airways during sleep and commonly related to snoring. It affects around 5% of the global population and is associated with other conditions such as heart failure and high blood pressure. Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) is an effective treatment but suffers from low levels of adherence. CPAP usage requires behavioural change and so initiation techniques are important. This project assesses CPAP usage, a year after initiation, when patients were introduced to therapy via inpatient respiratory studies (RESP), outpatient auto-titration studies (APAP) or in combination.

Methods

A retrospective review of 98 CPAP patients’ usage and demographic data was performed. The results were statistically analysed using ANOVA, Chi-squared and Kruskal-Wallace testing. Behaviour change was explored via the transtheoretical model.

Results

The findings showed clinically significant differences, but no statistically significant difference, in usage. Combining techniques improved yearly usage by 365 hours but mean weight increased. The APAP pathway saved £0.57 per hour of usage and reduced the time taken to start treatment by 60 days.

Conclusions

The results indicate initiation techniques with greater levels of interaction with healthcare professionals are beneficial. Additionally, the implementation of psychometric testing during consultation could also lead to enhanced usage. Significant weight gain across all groups poses the moral question around CPAP provision before weight loss attempts. This study identifies further areas for research including the effectiveness of weight loss campaigns, further analysis of behaviour changes and a 5-year follow-up study.

The relationship between emotional intelligence (EI) and stress has recently received widespread attention. Previous research suggests EI enables us to find better coping strategies to deal with stress, suggesting coping efficacy (one’s confidence in using effective coping skills) may be a mediator in the EI-Stress relationship. This study investigated whether coping efficacy mediates the relationship between EI and stress, and how this differs in gender and year of study. A convenience sample (N =162) of university students completed three questionnaires on; emotional intelligence (predictor variable), coping efficacy (mediating variable), and perceived stress (outcome variable). Correlations and partial correlations were used to investigate whether coping efficacy mediates the relationship between EI and stress and whether this differed for gender (male, female) and year of study (Year: 1, 2, 3, 4, postgraduate). EI had a significant positive correlation with coping efficacy and significant negative correlation with perceived stress (PS). Coping efficacy also had a significant negative correlation with PS. The relationship between EI and PS was significantly diminished when controlling for coping efficacy. The partial correlation was significant for females, and participants in Year 1, Year 2, and postgraduate studies, but not significant for males and participants in Year 3 and 4. Findings confirm coping efficacy partially mediates the relationship between EI and PS, suggesting coping ability plays a critical role in the EI-Stress relationship. As findings suggest higher EI leads to better coping and consequently lower stress levels, students could benefit from interventions designed to improve EI and teach adaptive coping skills, to reduce stress and improve wellbeing in Higher Education.

Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) play an essential role in many cellular regulatory mechanisms. Recent research implicates ROS in regulation of cytoskeletal proteins found in projections from neuronal cells called neurites. Dysfunction in ROS regulatory pathways is correlated with a number of neurodegenerative diseases including Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. In this study, we examined the relationship between ROS and the cytoskeleton of neurites by comparing the cytoskeleton of healthy and ROS modulated neurons. Tubulin and Actin cytoskeletal proteins were fluorescently stained and imaged in healthy versus ROS mutant mouse motor neuronal cell lines. The ratio of neurites to neurons was quantified upon imaging: a ratio of 0.694 was found in the healthy cell line, a ratio of 0.023 was found in ROS mutant cell line. To replicate this result under exogenous conditions, a healthy motor neuronal cell line was tagged with a fluorescent dye sensitive to mitochondrial membrane potential and transfused with increasing concentrations of hydrogen peroxide. An increase in fluorescence was observed in the soma but interestingly, no effect was observed in the neuronal projections. This result indicates a location sensitive regulation of mitochondrial function inside the neuron.

Crystal cells (CCs) are one of three hemocytes found within the innate immune system of Drosophila melanogaster (common fruit flies). Similar to immune cells within humans, CCs take part in fighting infection and wound healing. The genes involved in the development of CCs is only beginning to be discovered. To address this, we performed a Genome-Wide Association Study (GWAS) on larval CC number from 78 isolines of the Drosophila Genetic Reference Panel (DGRP) collection. DGRP consists of naturally caught fruit flies that are inbred and have their genomes fully sequenced. By placing the wandering third instar larvae under heatshock, it was visibly possible to score the number of melanized CCs throughout the larvae. We discovered that average number of CCs in each DGRP line (10 larvae per line) varied, ranging from 0 to 730. The average of all CCs counted (all DGRP lines collectively) was 220. GWAS of DGRP crystal cell data found 128 polymorphisms (p<10-5) that may be associated with differences in CC number between the isolines. From the 128, we chose to test 10 genes (with small p-values) mapped to the polymorphisms. However, overexpression was done for 4 of 10 genes. Overexpressing 3 of 4 genes led to altered CC number. Thus, we found 3 new genes (domino, extra-extra, and hemese) involved in CC development. As flies have many similar genes to that of humans, understanding the function of new candidate genes in CC production may provide insight into human genes that cause immune system imbalance.