Society & Culture

U of A researchers looking at community program to find out why playing the popular role-playing game seems to foster social growth.

24
July
2020

A community program using Dungeons & Dragons to foster social growth among at-risk youth has caught the attention of University of Alberta researchers, who plan to evaluate its apparent success.

The Level-Up Gaming League was created by local management consultant Bryan Sali, who noticed a lack of social skills among homeless youth while working about seven years ago for the Calgary John Howard Society and for Homeward Trust Edmonton.

He found many youth lacked the basic skills to manage conflict or even initiate a conversation.

“A lot of kids who cycle through the justice system develop a very different skill set by default, more around survival,” said Sali. “I thought, there's got to be a way to give them these skills.”

Role-playing game

Reflecting on his own development as a child, it struck him that he learned to bon...

Headlines

06
August
2020
| 05:55 America/Tegucigalpa

COMMENTARY || Defunding the police requires understanding what role policing plays in our society

Demystifying police work is needed to increase public support for major reforms, argues U of A sociologist.

Two contrasting perspectives have emerged in response to recent calls to “defund” police. One perspective—espoused by some activists on the political left—holds that policing is fatally broken,
05
August
2020
| 05:55 America/Tegucigalpa

Researchers reveal patterns of sexual abuse in religious settings

Sociologists expose how perpetrators use trust, faith and authority to groom victims and keep abuse secret.

A recent literature review by a University of Alberta cult expert and his former graduate student paints a startling and consistent picture of institutional secrecy and widespread protection of those
04
August
2020
| 06:00 America/Tegucigalpa

Canadians with disabilities face barriers to financial security, researchers find

Study shows those living with disabilities average 25 per cent less in assets—and COVID-19 is making the situation worse.

When University of Alberta sociologist Michelle Maroto came across a Toronto Star article about an Ontario woman struggling to make ends meet while battling Type 1 diabetes, she knew the story was
31
July
2020
| 05:55 America/Tegucigalpa

COMMENTARY || Was Beethoven Black? A Twitter meme reveals more about race and music than the composer’s origins

Social media trend is a new twist on a century-old question about the composer's secret ethnicity.

The year 2020 marks the 250th anniversary of Ludwig van Beethoven’s birth, and in mid-June this year, he started trending on Twitter. Perhaps it wasn’t so strange that Beethoven was popping up on
30
July
2020
| 06:00 America/Tegucigalpa

White supremacists are misappropriating Norse mythology, says expert

Scandinavian studies professor debunks idea of “racial purity” that makes racist extremists identify with Viking culture.

There is an urgent and pressing need for everyone to understand the Vikings, argues Scandinavian studies scholar Natalie Van Deusen. That’s because all manner of Viking symbols and misconceptions
29
July
2020
| 05:55 America/Tegucigalpa

COMMENTARY || Tough-on-crime anti-drug moralizing does a disservice to Canadians

Harsh prison sentences don't deter drug use, say sociologists who argue for decriminalizing possession of personal amounts of illicit drugs.

If the idea of decriminalizing possession of small amounts of illicit drugs once sounded radical, the coalition of people who now espouse the idea would certainly seem to be strange bedfellows. On
28
July
2020
| 06:00 America/Tegucigalpa

Shared-use roads improve physical distancing, research shows

Edmonton study suggests making underused roads available to pedestrians and cyclists encourages healthier behaviour during pandemic—and likely afterward.

Making some of Edmonton’s underused roadways available for pedestrians and cyclists cuts physical distancing violations along those routes by up to half, according to a University of Alberta study
28
July
2020
| 05:50 America/Tegucigalpa

Why Indigenous communities are taking COVID-19 measures into their own hands

Local responses to pandemic are a necessity to protect people at higher risk of infectious diseases—and a strong assertion of sovereignty, says U of A expert.

On the Government of Canada’s Indigenous Services web page, the first piece of information about COVID-19 is advice on how to wash your hands if you are under a drinking water advisory. This
27
July
2020
| 06:00 America/Tegucigalpa

Eight things you need to know about the worldwide hunt for a COVID-19 vaccine

University of Alberta experts share their knowledge, hopes and fears about the chances of finding a way to inoculate the world against the deadly pandemic virus.

With more than 100 teams around the world racing to find a vaccine against SARS-CoV-2, including three at the University of Alberta, what are the chances of getting something that works? The World
24
July
2020
| 05:55 America/Tegucigalpa

U of A named one of Canada’s greenest employers for 12th year in a row

University recognized for sustainable operations, culture of environmental awareness.

The University of Alberta’s long history of sustainability, combined with its new and evolving green initiatives, have once again been recognized nationally. Last month, the U of A was named one
23
July
2020
| 06:00 America/Tegucigalpa

Long-term study reveals unique insights into how we change as we age

Landmark 35-year research project has yielded surprising findings about happiness, relationships, generational differences and more.

In recent years, there has been a growing interest in the differences between generations and the sociological forces defining their worldviews and behaviour. Stereotypes abound: the Silent