Thinking Allowed

By BBC Radio 4

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 Aug 9, 2018
Always engaging, covering a vast range of areas.

A Podcast Republic user
 Jul 25, 2018


New research on how society works

Episode Date
Smart Cities
Smart Cities: Laurie Taylor presents a special edition of Thinking Allowed which was recorded at the Open University in Milton Keynes. He was joined by Sophie Watson, Professor of Sociology at the Open University, Oliver Zanetti, Visiting Fellow at the Open University and Gillian Rose, Professor of Human Geography at Oxford University. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Jul 25, 2018
Beauty - Ugliness
Beauty and ugliness - to what extent are our ideas about physical perfection culturally and socially constructed? Laurie Taylor talks to Gretchen Henderson, Lecturer in English at Georgetown University & author of a study of perceptions of ugliness throughout history and to Heather Widdows, Professor of Global Ethics at the University of Birmingham, whose latest book explores the radical transformation of the status of beauty and the increasing emergence of a global ideal. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Jul 18, 2018
Suburbia Revisited
Suburbia Revisited: Has it ceased to be a place of leafy affluence as poverty has migrated from the city? New research suggests the decline of an American 'golden age' of white picket fences and two garage homes. Laurie Taylor explores the origin, myth and reality of the suburban dream, in Britain as well as the US. Is the suburbanisation of poverty a widespread phenomenon? He's joined by Mark Clapson, Professor of Social and Urban History at the University of Westminster, Scott Allard, Professor of Social Policy at the University of Washington and Anne Power, Professor of Social Policy at the London School of Economics Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Jul 11, 2018
Selfies - disconnection from ICTs
'Selfies' - every day Facebook users upload 350million photos, Instagrammers share 95 million photos and there are 3 billion Snapchat snaps. A central element of visual sharing online involves 'selfies' -which often generate more comment than anything else. But why this fascination with images that can often be repetitive and unimaginative? Do they feed a culture of unhealthy narcissism, as critics assert, or are they a more complex cultural phenomenon? Also, Disconnected - why are some people turning their back on the use of any information communication technologies? Laurie Taylor talks to Mariann Hardy, Acting Director, Advanced Research in Computing at Durham University, about new research which uncovers the motives and lives of a global population which explicitly rejects our hyper connected world. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Jul 04, 2018
Gangs and spirituality
Gangs, spirituality and desistance from crime - what leads people away from criminality? Laurie Taylor talks to Ross Deuchar, Director of the Interdisciplinary Research Unit on Crime, Policing and Social Justice at the University of the West of Scotland. His new study draws on in-depth interviews with male gang members and offenders and spans three continents, focusing on the USA, Scotland, Denmark and Hong Kong. They're joined by Ruth Armstrong, Senior Research Associate in the Institute of Criminology at the University of Cambridge and author of a study exploring the role of fatalism in offenders' relapses into crime. A final guest, Shadd Maruna, Professor of Criminology at the University of Manchester, asks if the future of desistance lies in its transformation into a social movement. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Jun 27, 2018
China today
Will China rule the world? Laurie Taylor talks to Yuen Yuen Ang, Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Michigan, and author of a study which explores China's unusual route out of poverty. They're joined by David Tyfield, Co-Director of the Centre for Mobilities Research at Lancaster University, and author of new book examining the prospects for an alternative global power regime. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Jun 20, 2018
Light and Dark
Illumination and darkness: Laurie Taylor is joined by Tim Edensor, Reader in Cultural Geography at Manchester Metropolitan University, and author of a study into the ways in which light and dark produce everyday life and the stories we tell about ourselves. In examining the modern city as a space of fantasy through electric illumination, he considers how we are seeking-and should seek-new forms of darkness in reaction to the perpetual glow of urban lighting. They're joined by Robert Shaw., lecturer in geography at Newcastle University, who has studied the relationship between night and society in contemporary cities. He claims that the economic activity of the 'daytime' city has so advanced into the night, that other uses of the night as a time for play, for sleep or for escaping oppression have come increasingly under threat. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Jun 13, 2018
Size Discrimination
Laurie Taylor is joined by Lynne Vallone, Professor of Childhood Studies, to discuss her book, Big and Small, in which she explores the often uncomfortable implications of using physical measures to judge normalcy and perceptions of beauty. Tanya S Osensky is an attorney who has made it her personal crusade to highlight the discrimination faced by short people in our society and to suggest ways of changing this. In her book, Shortchanged, Tanya reflects on her own experiences of being short as well as addressing 'heightism' in the workplace, in social situations, and beyond. She joins the discussion on the line from Atlanta, Georgia. Producer Natalia Fernandez.
Jun 06, 2018
Business Schools
Laurie Taylor examines the role of business schools in the UK and abroad. Martin Parker joins him in the studio to discuss the arguments in his book Shut Down the Business School - What's Wrong with Management Education. Laurie is joined on the line from New York by the author of The Golden Passport - Harvard Business School, the Limits of Capitalism, and the Moral Failure of the MBA Elite, Duff McDonald. Are there similarities between the American business school model and its British counterpart? With some MBAs costing in excess of £75,000 in the UK, what is the lure for prospective students and is the qualification worth the money? Or should we be thinking beyond the monetary value of MBAs and focus instead on what MBA graduates could be giving back to society and the importance of corporate responsibility? Maeve Cohen is the Director of Rethinking Economics, an organisation which argues for a change in the way that economics is taught and calls for more diversity and historical context in the economics curriculum, and she also joins the discussion.
May 30, 2018
Law and Order
Law and Order: the legacy - 40 years ago, GF Newman's quartet of plays, Law & Order, provoked calls from MPs for the author to be arrested for sedition and the summoning of the director-general of the BBC to the Home Office to explain himself. The dramas explored the role of the Metropolitan Police, the criminal, the solicitor and the prison system around one central story. They provided a savage and uncompromising assessment of the criminal justice system, one in which corruption and stitch ups were common. Laurie Taylor considers the impact of those plays and the extent to which they created a public and political debate which produced positive reform. Four decades later, have we any cause for complacency? He's joined by the writer, GF Newman, Tim Newburn, Professor of Criminology at the LSE and Charlotte Brunsden, Professor of Film & Television Studies at the University of Warwick. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
May 23, 2018
Marx and Marxism
Sociological discussion programme. May 2018 sees the 200th anniversary of Karl Marx's birth. Laurie Taylor explores the philosopher's ideas and legacy.
May 16, 2018
The Internet and Democracy
The Internet and Democracy: Laurie Taylor analyses the social and political consequences of our digitised world. In light of recent data breach scandals around companies like Facebook and Cambridge Analytica, what does that mean for democracy? Why has the Internet failed to set us free? He's joined by Jamie Bartlett, Director of the Centre for the Analysis of Social Media for Demos, in conjunction with The University of Sussex; Monica Horten, Visiting Fellow at the London School of Economics & Political Science and Will Davies, Reader in Political Economy at Goldsmiths College. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
May 09, 2018
Universal Basic Income
Universal Basic Income: Laurie Taylor asks if it's the answer to an increasingly precarious job landscape. Could it bring greater financial freedom for women, tackle the issue of unpaid but essential work, cut poverty and promote greater choice? Or is it a dead-end utopian ideal that distracts from more practical and cost-effective solutions? He's joined by Stewart Lansley, Visiting Fellow at the School of Policy Studies, University of Bristol and editor of a new book which shares research and insights from a variety of nations including India and Finland; John Rentoul, Visiting Professor at King's College, London and Ursula Huws, Professor of Labour and Globalisation at the University of Hertfordshire Business School Producer: Jayne Egerton.
May 02, 2018
Menswear Revolution
The menswear revolution: Laurie Taylor explores the transformation in men's clothing with Jay McCauley Bowstead, lecturer in Cultural and Historical Studies at London College of Fashion. Also taking part is John Harvey, Life Fellow at the University of Cambridge, and author of a book charting the history of men's dress from the toga to the suit. They're joined by Julia Twigg, Professor of Social Policy and Sociology at the University of Kent, who talks about her research on older men and fashion. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Apr 25, 2018
Winner of 2018 BSA/Thinking Allowed Ethnography Award
The winner of the 2018 BSA/Thinking Allowed Ethnography award. Laurie Taylor talks to Anna Lora-Wainwright, Associate Professor in the Human Geography of China at the University of Oxford, and author of 'Resigned Activism: Living with Pollution in Rural China' . Her study revealed the health consequences of drinking tainted water and breathing visibly dirty air in villages effected by phosphorous mining & fertiliser production, lead and zinc mining and electronic waste production. Residents suffered a range of ailments, from arthritis to nosebleeds, in areas with a high incidence of cancer. Her extensive fieldwork found that villagers often felt powerless to challenge the 'slow violence' and human costs of rapid industrialisation - their activism was tempered by resignation. Isabel Hilton, international journalist and broadcaster joins the discussion. Isabel is the founder and editor of, an online publication that focuses on the environment and climate change. She was awarded the OBE for her work in raising environmental awareness in China. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Apr 18, 2018
Ethnography Award Shortlist 2018
This year's winning entries explored complex lives and worlds. How did Dalits, member of India's lowest caste, shake the political establishment in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu? What's the impact on the health of people living in a heavily polluted area in rural China? How do Liberian refugees earn a living in a refugee camp in Ghana? Laurie discusses this year's shortlist with two of his fellow judges - Hilary Pilkington, winner of the 2017 award and Professor of Sociology at the University of Manchester and Nayanika Mookherjee, shortlisted for the 2015 award and Associate Professor (Reader) in Socio-Cultural Anthropology at Durham University. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Apr 11, 2018
Mixed-race families
'Mixed-race' is the fastest growing ethnic group in the UK. But how do multiracial parents identify their own children? When is a mixed-race heritage passed down to the next generation and when is it not? Miri Song, Professor of Sociology at the University of Kent tackles these questions in her new book, Multiracial Parents: Mixed Families, Generational Change, and the Future of Race (2017). Joining the discussion is socio-linguist Marta Wilczek-Watson whose work on trans-national relationships finds there has traditionally been too great a focus on the apparent difficulties faced by couples who come from different countries. And we hear from one of those tasked with recording the UK's shifting demographics in the British Census, Pete Benton, Director of Population and Public Policy Operations at the Office of National Statistics.
Apr 04, 2018
Dating at university, Online dating
'Hook up' culture - Laurie explores a new sexual culture on American campuses and asks if it has a British counterpart. Casual sex in higher education has a long history but Lisa Wade, Professor of Sociology at Occidental College Los Angeles, suggests a significant shift in the culture - one which benefits some students at the expense of others. They're joined by Zoe Strimpel, a researcher and historian from Sussex University, who has analysed the changing nature of dating. Also, Josue Ortega, lecturer in economics at the University of Essex, analyses the impact of online dating. Tinder and other such apps are often thought to be routes to temporary hook ups. But this new study suggests that these tools may actually be helping more people to get together in new ways, and for good. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Mar 28, 2018
Sacrifice - Laurie Taylor explores the many meanings of the term. Terry Eagleton, Distinguished Professor of Literature at the University of Lancaster, argues that sacrifice has a bad press in the modern age. The notion of giving anything up fails to appeal in a world devoted to self-fulfilment. But is there more to sacrifice than burnt offerings and self-denial? Can it ever be radical? Also, Chetan Bhatt, Director for the Centre on Human Rights at the LSE, examines the idea of sacrifice as invoked by Salafi-Jihadist suicide bombers. Does the inherently de secular nature of sacrifice inevitably pose the risk of promoting political violence? Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Mar 21, 2018
Racial inequality now, Women and political language
Racial inequality now - what explains its persistence? Nasar Meer, Professor of Race, Identity and Citizenship at the University of Edinburgh asks why racial and ethnic disparities continue to be fundamental to our society. Also, women and political language. Deborah Cameron, Rupert Murdoch Professorship in Language and Communication at Oxford University, discusses her study of the speech styles of the leaders of the main political parties in the 2015 General Election. (The latter was a pre-recorded interview which was transmitted in an earlier Thinking Allowed. The billed interview with Miri Song, Professor of Sociology at the University of Kent, had to be abandoned due to problems with the line from America). Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Mar 14, 2018
Women and democracy - the language of power
Has Democracy Failed Women?' Drude Dahlerup, Professor of Political Science at Stockholm University asks why women are still under-represented in politics, from the UK to the Global South. Some argue that we are on the right track to full gender equality in politics, while others talk about women hitting the glass ceiling or being included in institutions with shrinking power. Also, how 'normality' is established in language. Do the words we use-and don't use-reinforce dominant cultural norms? What are the unspoken assumptions behind terms like "male nurse," and "working mother"? Eviatar Zerubavel, Distinguished Professor of Sociology at Rutgers University, explores the word choices we make every day, without even realizing it, and exposes the subtly encoded ways we talk about race, gender, sexual orientation and more. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Mar 07, 2018
The White Working Class.
The white working class - are they the left behind? Noam Gidron, a Fellow at the Niehaus Center for Globalization and Governance at Princeton University, asks if the right wing, populist vote is a reflection of the declining social status of this group. He's joined by Gurminder Bhambra, Professor of Postcolonial and Decolonial Studies at the University of Sussex, who argues that a concern with economic disadvantage, when talking about the election of Trump, as well as Brexit, has led to a new 'identity politics' of race - one where class takes second place to 'whiteness'. The writer and broadcaster, Kenan Malik, joins the discussion. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Feb 28, 2018
Artisanal food - Natural foods
The politics and meaning of 'alternative' foods: Laura Miller, Associate Professor of Sociology at Brandeis University, discusses her study of 'Natural Foods'. How did what was once a culturally marginal set of ideas evolve from associations with spirituality and bohemian lifestyles to being a mainstream consumer choice? She's joined by Ton Hayward, food writer and broadcaster. Also, Harry West, Professor of Anthropology at the University of Exeter, considers the 'authenticity' of artisanal and heritage foods. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Feb 21, 2018
A Valentine Day's special
A Valentine Day's Special. Laurie Taylor explores changing attitudes to infidelity and considers a cross cultural history of rings. Wendy Doniger, Distinguished Service Professor of the History of Religions at the University of Chicago, asks why this piece of circular jewellery keeps re-occurring in myths and stories about seduction, love, sex and betrayal. What can it tell us about the shifting nature of power relations between men and women? She's joined by Adam Kuper, Visiting Professor in Anthropology at Boston University. Also, have attitudes hardened towards adultery? The visibility of non-monogamy suggests a challenge to dominant assumptions about the feasibility of lifelong sexual fidelity. However, infidelity remains the lone area of adult sexual practice that is disapproved of under any circumstances. Dr Jenny van Hooff, Senior Lecturer in Sociology at Manchester Metropolitan University, examines claims about the extent to which relationships have been de-traditionalised. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Feb 14, 2018
Populism - Laurie Taylor explores the origins, meaning and rise of populist politics, across the Left as well as the Right. He's joined by Mukulika Banerjee, Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology, LSE; Luke March, Deputy Head of Politics and International Relations at Edinburgh University and Thomas Osborne, Leverhulme Research Fellow in Liberalism & Political Ethics and Prof of Social & Political Theory at the University of Bristol. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Feb 07, 2018
Stigma - Laurie Taylor explores the origins and meaning of Erving Goffman's famous sociological concept and the ways it's being re-cast by social scientists in the 21st century. He's joined by Graham Scambler, Emeritus Professor of Sociology at University College, London, Lisa Morris, Lecturer in Social Work at the University of Birmingham and Joanna Latimer, Professor of Sociology at the University of York. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Jan 31, 2018
Countercultural seekers, Slum tourism
Counter cultural seekers: Laurie Taylor talks to Mark Liechty, Professor of Anthropology at the University of Illinois, Chicago, and author of a new book exploring the origins and meaning of the hippy trail to Kathmandu. Also, slum tourism in Mumbai. Does it de-politicise poverty? Melissa Nisbett, Senior Lecturer in Arts and Cultural Management at Kings College, London, found that many white westerners viewed such visits as personally enriching but saw no need for structural change. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Jan 24, 2018
Countercultural seekers/ slum tourism.
Counter cultural seekers and meaning of the hippy trail. Also, slum tourism in Mumbai.
Jan 24, 2018
Police culture
Police culture, socialisation and identity. Laurie Taylor explores the process by which police officers become 'blue'. He's joined by Sarah Charman, a Reader in Criminology at the University of Portsmouth, Carol Cox, Acting Head of the School of Forensic and Applied Sciences at The University of Central Lancashire and Louise Westmarland, Professor of Criminology at the Open University. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Jan 17, 2018
The sensory landscape of the city
The sensory landscape of the city. Laurie Taylor explores the scenes, sounds, smells and tastes of urban life. He's joined by Daniel Silver, Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto, Alex Rhys-Taylor, Lecturer in Sociology at Goldsmiths, University of London and Monica Degen, Reader in Sociology at Brunel University London. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Jan 10, 2018
The Housing Crisis, Squatting in Amsterdam
The housing crisis and beyond: Laurie Taylor talks to Anna Minton, Reader in Architecture at the University of East London & author of 'Big Capital: Who Is London For?' and David Madden, Assistant Professor in Sociology at the LSE. They explore the way in which homes have come to be seen as sites of capital investment and accumulation rather than as places of shelter and security. Also, the anthropologist, Nazima Kadir, discusses her study of the 'autonomous' life of politically motivated squatters in Amsterdam. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Jan 03, 2018
Working-class actors, Class and classical music
Working class actors: Laurie Taylor asks if acting is becoming an increasingly exclusive and elite profession. He talks to the actor Julie Hesmondhalgh and to Dave O'Brien, Chancellor's Fellow, Cultural and Creative Industries at the University of Edinburgh, and author of a new study which suggests that working class actors face increasing economic, as well as cultural obstacles, comparable to skydiving without a parachute. Also, class and classical music. Anna Bull, lecturer in the School of Social, Historical and Literary Studies at the University of Portsmouth, considers why this musical genre is seen as such a middle class preserve. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Dec 27, 2017
Christmas Television
Christmas Television: Laurie Taylor explores the history, meaning and variety of this very British tradition. What's its role in the construction of a real or imagined 'national' family? He's joined by Martin Johnes, Reader in History at Swansea University, Helen Wood, Professor of Media and Communication at Leicester University and Brett Mills, Senior Lecturer in Media and American Studies at University of East Anglia. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Dec 20, 2017
The Trojan Horse Affair - Religion in Schools
Laurie Taylor asks if there was an attempt to Islamicise schools in Birmingham.
Dec 14, 2017
The New Economy
The New Economy: How people turn themselves into 'brands' in the quest for work. Laurie Taylor talks to Ilana Gershon, Associate Professor of Anthropology at Indiana University, and author of a new study exploring the way that people do (and don't) find work by re-defining themselves as unique business enterprises. Also, the death of homo economicus. Peter Fleming, Professor of Business and Society at Cass Business School, argues that the creation of a fake persona - the rational, self interested economic 'man' - originated by classical economists such as Adam Smith, no longer serves any purpose in the contemporary world. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Dec 06, 2017
Politics and Emotion
A revolution in feeling: How the Enlightenment forged our understanding of human emotion and the ways in which this relates to the contemporary political world. Laurie Taylor talks to the literary historian, Rachel Hewitt, Russell Foster, Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at the Department of European and International Studies King's College London and to Karin Wahl-Jorgensen, Director, Research Development and Environment, Cardiff School of Journalism, Cardiff University Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Nov 29, 2017
GDP, Mali music
GDP - Laurie Taylor talks to Lorenzo Fioramonti, Professor of Political Economy at the University of Pretoria, and author of a new book which exposes the flaws of an economic system which values this statistic, above all others, as a measure of prosperity and growth. They're joined by Douglas McWilliams, Deputy Chairman of the Centre for Economics and Business Research. Also, Mali music - Caspar Melville, Lecturer in Global Creative and Cultural Industries at SOAS, discussed his study into the ways in which Eurocentric copyright is impacting on African musical traditions. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Nov 27, 2017
Affluence - from the Kalahari desert to Wall St; Laurie Taylor explores contrasting conceptions of material plenty and the 'good life'. He's joined by James Suzman, an anthropologist who has spent 30 years studying and spending time with the bushmen of Namibia and Rachel Sherman, Associate Professor of Sociology at The New School whose study of wealthy New Yorkers found an uneasiness, as well as an enjoyment in affluence. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Nov 15, 2017
Marxism, 'Red' Globalisation
Laurie Taylor talks to David Harvey, world authority on Marx's thought.
Nov 08, 2017
War In The Air
Laurie Taylor explores the history of aerial bombing and tear gas.
Nov 01, 2017
Hospices - Palliative Care
Laurie Taylor explores end of life care through the ages.
Oct 25, 2017
Whither the Welfare State?
Laurie Taylor examines the history of the welfare state.
Oct 18, 2017
The Restaurant: A Taste of Class
Laurie Taylor gets under the skin of the restaurant.
Oct 11, 2017
Robots and AI
Laurie Taylor takes a cool, non dystopian look at future possibilities
Oct 04, 2017
Sectarianisation - the Middle East
Laurie Taylor asks if a new theory offers an explanation for conflicts in the Arab world.
Sep 27, 2017
The Mafia - organised crime
The Mafia and organised crime from Sicily to Japan and the UK
Sep 20, 2017
Management Jargon
Why is meaningless speech in the workplace so ubiquitous?
Sep 13, 2017
Exhaustion: a historical study of weariness.
Exhaustion: is extreme fatigue a peculiarly modern phenomenon?
Jul 26, 2017
The Subway
Laurie Taylor goes underground - from New York to Delhi.
Jul 19, 2017
The Secret World of Hair
An anthropological journey through the world of hair.
Jul 13, 2017
Fertility Holidays - Male Infertility
Laurie Taylor discusses a study of IVF tourism and also male infertility.
Jul 05, 2017
Global inequality - 'signs of nation'
Is the Global South catching up with the North?
Jun 28, 2017
Heritage and preservation
Heritage beyond saving: Laurie Taylor talks to Caitlin DeSilvey, associate professor of cultural geography & author of a new book which journeys from Cold War test sites to post industrial ruins. Do we need to challenge cherished assumptions about the conservation of cultural heritage? Might we embrace rather than resist natural processes of decay and decline? They're joined by Haidy Geismar, reader in anthropology at University College, London & Tiffany Jenkins, sociologist & cultural commentator. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Jun 21, 2017
Sport and Philosophy - Inside an African-Caribbean Football Club
The philosophy of sport, and the evolution of a African Caribbean football club.
Jun 14, 2017
Fashion and class
Fashion and Class: Laurie Taylor talks to Daniel Smith, Lecturer in Sociology at Anglia Ruskin University, and author of a study of the 'branded gentry' the target buyers of the Jack Wills clothing brand. How did a fashion company come to be associated with elite educational institutions and what can it tell us about the maintenance and reproduction of social and economic privilege? How has the relationshio between class, style and fashion democratised, or not, over the years? They're joined by Angela McRobbie, Professor of Communications at Goldsmiths, University of London and Angela Partington, Associate Dean at Kingston University. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Jun 07, 2017
The meaning of the face
The meaning of the face: How critical is it to our sense of identity, and relationship with others? Sharrona Pearl, Assistant Professor in Communications at the University of Pennsylvania, discusses her study of face transplant surgery. She's joined by Anne-Marie Martindale, Post-Doctoral Research Associate at the University of Manchester, who has studied the impact of facial disfigurement; as well as Professor Jonathan Cole, consultant in clinical neurophysiology, and author of two books examining the relationship between facial expressions, communication and the self. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
May 31, 2017
Doctors at war - Wasting GP's time
Doctors at War: a candid account of a trauma surgical team based, for a tour of duty, at a field hospital in Helmand, Afghanistan. Laurie Taylor talks to Mark de Rond, a professor of organizational ethnography at Cambridge University, about the highs and lows of surgical life in a morally ambiguous world in which good people face impossible choices and in which routines designed to normalize experience have the unintended effect of highlighting war's absurdity. The doctor and reporter, Saleyha Ahsan, joins the discussion. Also, Dr Nadia Llanwarne, Research Fellow at the Department of Primary Care at the University of Cambridge, discusses her study of patient's fears of wasting their GP's time. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
May 24, 2017
Russian prison visitors - prison boundaries
Relatives of Russian Prisoners: Judith Pallot , Professor of the Human Geography of Russia at the University of Oxford talks to Laurie Taylor about her research into the experiences of the wives, mothers, girlfriends, daughters who, as relatives of Russia's three-quarters of a million prisoners, are the "invisible victims" of the country's harsh penal policy. She's joined by Laura Piacentini, Professor of Criminology at the University of Strathclyde. Also, how to bridge the boundary that divides prison and society. Jennifer Turner, Lecturer in Human Geography at the University of Liverpool, discusses her study. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
May 17, 2017
Craft work - 'dirty' work
Masters of Craft: Laurie Taylor talks to Richard Ocejo, Associate Professor of Sociology at City University of New York and author of a study which explores the renaissance of bartending, distilling, barbering, and butchering, traditionally low status manual labour jobs which are being re-created as upscale careers by middle class, well educated young men. How does this complicate our notions of upward and downward mobility? They're joined by Phil Hubbard, Professor of Urban Studies at Kings College London. Also, 'dirty work': Ruth Simpson, Professor of Management at Brunel Business School, finds out how street cleaners and refuse collectors retain their self esteem in jobs which are sometimes stigmatised and held in poor regard. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
May 11, 2017
Insuring against disasters - electronic finance
Disaster insurers: Laurie Taylor talks to Rebecca Bednarek, Senior Lecturer in Management at Birkbeck, University of London, about a study into a global re-insurance market in which 'Acts of God' provide formidable opportunities for financial markets. Also, amateur traders: why do they risk so much for so little? Alex Preda, Professor of Accounting, Accountability and Financial Management at King's College, London, explores how ordinary people take up financial trading in a world far removed from the glamour and wealth of investment bankers. They're joined by Dan Barnes, the business journalist. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
May 03, 2017
Drugs in warfare
DRUGS IN WARFARE: Laurie Taylor talks to Lukasz Kamienski, Lecturer in Political Science at at Jagiellonian University, Poland, and author of a book which examines how intoxicants have been put to the service of states, empires and their armies throughout history. They were prescribed by military authorities but there's also been widespread unauthorised use by soldiers from the American Civil War to the Vietnam War and the rebel militias of contemporary Africa. Whether to improve stamina, increase fighting spirit or deal with shattered nerves, drugs turn out to have been a 'secret weapon' in warfare. Also, the writer, Norman Ohler discusses his study into the overwhelming role of drug-taking in the Third Reich. According to his research, Nazi Germany was permeated with cocaine, heroin, morphine and, most of all, methamphetamines, or crystal meth, and crucial to troops' resilience. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Apr 26, 2017
Elite education
ELITE EDUCATION: Laurie Taylor explores the ways in which the most prestigious schools and universities around the world sustain inequality. Debbie Epstein, Professor of Cultural Studies in Education at Roehampton University, talks about a far reaching study looking at the origins and costs of the 'export' of the British public school to other countries including Hong Kong and South Africa. Also, Natasha K. Warikoo, Associate Professor of Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education consider how elite students in America and Britain think about merit, race and privilege having gained admittance to one of the world's top universities. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Apr 19, 2017
Special programme on winner of Ethnography award
The winner of the British Sociological Association/Thinking Allowed Ethnography award 2017 is Hilary Pilkington, Professor of Sociology at the University of Manchester. She talks to Laurie Taylor about her study of the English Defence League. What beliefs and goals animate this right wing populist group? What ethnical issues are raised by studying the extreme Right? She's joined by the celebrated American sociologist, Arlie Hochschild, who took a similar journey to the white heartlands of the American Right. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Apr 12, 2017
A special programme devoted to the BSA/Thinking Allowed Ethnography Shortlist
A special programme devoted to the BSA and Thinking Allowed Ethnography Award Shortlist for 2017. Thinking Allowed, in association with the British Sociological Association, presents a special programme devoted to the academic research which has been short listed for our fourth annual award for a study that has made a significant contribution to ethnography, the in-depth analysis of the everyday life of a culture or sub culture. Laurie Taylor is joined by the 3 other judges; Sarah Neal , Professor of Sociology at the University of Sheffield, Shane Blackman, Professor of Cultural Studies at Canterbury Christ Church University and Alpa Shah , Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the LSE. Producer:Jayne Egerton.
Apr 05, 2017
Grandfathers - Dementia carers
Grandfathers today: Laurie Taylor talks to Ann Buchanan, Senior Research Associate in the Department of Social Policy and Intervention at the University of Oxford, about the changing nature of grandfatherhood. She brought together a team of international scholars, from Finland to South Africa, who found that grandfathers were re-inventing themselves into a new, caring role in the wake of increased divorce, long parenthood and more active, elder lives. They're joined by the writer and broadcaster, Michael Bywater. Dementia carers: Simon Bailey, Research Fellow in Sociology at the University of Manchester, talks about the findings of three National Health Service wards and one private care home in England. Staff are expected to provide person centred care which mitigates the loss of insight, personality and capacity associated with dementia. But, as his research demonstrates, direct care staff have only limited training and remuneration to deliver such quality care. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Mar 22, 2017
Teen bedrooms - Skydivers
Get out of my room! A social history of teen bedrooms in America. Laurie Taylor talks to Jason Reid, Lecturer in History at Ryerson University who charts the evolution and meaning of this sanctuary for adolescent self expression.They're joined by Sian Lincoln, Senior Lecturer in Media Studies at Liverpool John Moores University who has explored the role of bedrooms in the lives of young British people. Skydivers & dangerous sports: James Hardie-Bick, Senior Lecturer in Sociology and Criminology at the University of Sussex, discusses the motivations, behaviours and experiences of those who voluntarily engage in high-risk activities Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Mar 15, 2017
Money - how to break the power of the banks
The production of money: how to break the power of the banks. Laurie Taylor talks to Ann Pettifor, Director of Policy Research in Macroeconomics (PRIME) and author of a provocative new book which asks how money is created and whose interests it serves. Countering the notion that it's a neutral medium of exchange in which bankers are merely go betweens for savers and borrowers, she says we can claim control over money production and avert another financial crisis. But how might we go about it? Diego Zuluaga, Financial Services Research Fellow at the Institute of Economic Affairs, offers a contrasting perspective. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Mar 08, 2017
Squatting; a cross cultural history. Plus taking ones clothes off in public.
Squatting: Laurie Taylor discusses the first popular history of squatting in Europe and North America. Alexander Vasudevan, Associate Professor of Human Geography at the University of Oxford, drew on extensive archival research to retrace alternative forms of housing from Copenhagen's Christiana 'Free Town' to the Lower East Side of Manhattan. He's joined by Lucy Finchett-Maddock, Lecturer in Law at the University of Sussex Also: 'Streaking', 'mooning' and 'flashing'. Barbara Brownie, Senior Lecturer in Visual Communication at the University of Hertfordshire, explores the many meanings of public disrobement, from the playful to the criminal. Producer: Alice Bloch.
Mar 01, 2017
Platform Capitalism
Platform Capitalism: How the most powerful tech companies of our time are revolutionising the global economy. Laurie Taylor talks to Nick Srnicek Lecturer in International Political Economy at City, University of London, and author of a new study which critically examines how companies ranging from Google, Amazon and Microsoft to Facebook, GE and Airbnb, are turning into platforms: businesses that provide the hardware and software foundation for others to operate on. This transformation in how companies operate offers new possibilities for consumers, but also represents an arguably troubling monopoly control over both distribution and production. How did Platform Capitalism originate, what are its merits - as well as its dangers - and does it have an infinite future? Ursula Huws, Professor of Labour and Globalisation at Hertfordshire School of Business and Andrew Leyshon, Professor of Economic Geography at the University of Nottingham, also join the discussion. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Feb 22, 2017
Terrorism: does it work? - The 'Hotline'
Terrorism: does it ever work? Laurie Taylor talks to Richard English, Professor of Politics at Queen's University, Belfast and author of a historical study exploring the efficacy of political violence from the Provisional IRA to Hamas. They're joined by John Bew, Professor in History and Foreign Policy at Kings College, London. Also, the origins and development of the 'hotline' . Claudia Aradou, Reader in International Politics at Kings College, London charts the chequered history of a form of communication which arose in the context of the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Cold War. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Feb 15, 2017
Vertical Cities - India's property boom
Vertical cities: Laurie Taylor explores the increasing segregation of cities by height. Stephen Graham, Professor of Cities & Society at Newcastle University, ponders 'class war from above'. His exploration of the built environment around the world, both above and below ground, finds that the wealthy have gone upwards; into "islands" and "archipelagos" of residential towers, hotels, private clubs, roof gardens, restaurants, swimming pools, even heliports. They enjoy fresher air, commanding vistas, safety from crime and speedy travel. Privileged Chinese citizens retreat to air conditioned citadels in the sky; wealthy Thai commuters enjoy the Skytrain, Bangkok's elevated railway for the fortunate few. Graham lays out a landscape where architecture reflects and reinforces divisions with ever greater brazenness. India's property boom. In recent years, India has seen a sudden and spectacular urban transformation. Gleaming business complexes encroach on fields and villages. Giant condominium communities offer gated security and pristine pools. Spacious, air-conditioned malls have sprung up alongside open-air markets. Llerena Guiu Searle , Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Rochester, interviewed estate agents, investors and developers, documenting the new private sector partnerships and practices that are bringing prosperity, but also making India's cities ever more inaccessible to the urban poor Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Feb 08, 2017
The brave new world of virtual workers; also globalisation, the old and the new.
Globalisation: the history of the movement of goods, knowledge and people. Laurie Taylor talks to Richard Baldwin, Professor of International Economics at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva and author of a groundbreaking new study. They were joined by Diane Coyle, Professor of Economics at the University of Manchester. Juliet Webster, Director of Work and Equality Research at the LSE, explores the brave new world of virtual workers - characterised by short contracts, flexible working hours and the blurring of boundaries between work and free time. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Feb 03, 2017
Health divides - Counting global health
Health divides: Where we live can kill us. Americans live 3 years less than their counterparts in France and Sweden. Scottish men survive 2 years less than English men. Across Europe, women in the poorest communities may live 10 years less than those in the richest. People who live just a few miles apart can have gaps in life expectancy of up to 25 years. Laurie Taylor talks to Clara Bambra, Professor of Public Health Newcastle University Medical School, whose research draws on international case studies to examine the cause of these health inequalities and to consider what changes would be needed so that geographical location need not be a matter of life or death. Global health: moving beyond metrics - From maternal mortality to malaria, statistical methods are used to measure sickness, injury and suffering across the world. But Vincanne Adams, Professor of Medical Anthropology at the University of California, argues that such well-intentioned 'evidence based' interventions often fail. Drawing on rich case histories from countries including Nigeria and Haiti, she argues that we are missing other ways of knowing and tackling global health problems. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Jan 25, 2017
Age of noise - British drinking
The 'age of noise': How a preoccupation with unwanted sounds came to characterise modernity. The 20th century saw the expansion of cities and technological change. The sounds of motor cars, vacuum cleaners and gramaphones filled the air, leading social commentators to forecast the end of civilisation and a breakdown in mental health. Did noise provide people with a way of talking about their social anxieties? Does it still serve this function today? Laurie Taylor talks to James Mansell, Assistant Professor of Cultural Studies at the University of Nottingham and Marie Thompson, Lecturer in the School of Film and Media at the University of Lincoln. British drinking and the night time carnival. William Haydock, Visiting Fellow in the Faculty of Health and Social Sciences at the University of Bournemouth, argues that our alcohol consumption is peculiarly 'carnivalesque', combining ritual with risk taking and spectacle. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Jan 18, 2017
Sexual violence in the Bangladeshi War of Independence - Global danger and the risk to research
Sexual violence in the Bangladeshi War of Independence. Laurie Taylor talks to Nayanika Mookherjee, Reader in Socio-Cultural Anthropology at Durham University, about the internationally unprecedented state designation of raped women as birangonas (brave women) in 1971. Her groundbreaking study was shortlisted for the 2016 BSA/Thinking Allowed Ethnography Award. She analysed the pubic memory or wartime rape perpetrated by the West Pakistani army and local Bengali men in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) during that conflict. This national commemoration of the women's suffering counters the assumption of silence and shame amongst victims of rape in war. But what did it mean to the women themselves? Has their elevation to the status of heroines ensured their integration into their communities and acceptance by their menfolk? Also, Ruben Andersson, Associate Professor at Oxford University's Department of International Development, discusses the expansion of 'no go' areas of the world since 9/11. He argues that alleged regions of 'risk' are seen as posing a particular danger to Western states and citizens. How can ethnographers who, by definition, do not wish to observe from a distance, address this challenge to their research? Professor Andersson was the winner of the 2015 Ethnography Award for his study of clandestine migration on the borders of Europe. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Jan 11, 2017
Super Rich: The 1% of the 1%
The 'Super Rich' - Laurie Taylor presents a special programme on the 1% of the 1%. Rowland Atkinson, Research Chair in Inclusive Society at the University of Sheffield, Roger Burrow, Professor of Cities at Newcastle University and Emma Spence, PhD Researcher at Cardiff University explore the origins of this wealthiest of elites and their impact on our cities and lives. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Jan 04, 2017
Laurie Taylor discusses the relationship between literature and sociology.
What is the relationship between literature and sociology? Laurie Taylor discusses fiction and the real world with crime writer Denise Mina, criminologist Dick Hobbs and English literature lecturer Nick Bentley. From Charles Dickens' "Oliver" to Alan Sillitoe's "Saturday Night and Sunday Morning", literary descriptions of the social world - and working class life in particular - have often been called "realistic". But how has 'real life' been misrepresented by scholars and novelists alike? Can ethnography produce fictions of its own? And what skills are vital for any writer who wants to capture the complexity of everyday life? Plus, is it really true, as WH Auden once suggested, that "poetry makes nothing happen"? Laurie and guests discuss the influence of literature and sociology on attitudes and policy, reflecting on how both can make a meaningful impact. Producer: Alice Bloch.
Dec 28, 2016
Musicians Union - women heavy metal fans
The Musicians Union: Laurie Taylor explores the history of musicians efforts to be seen as workers, as well as entertainers. Martin Cloonan, Professor of Popular Music Politics at the University of Glasgow, drew on extensive archive and interviews with Union employees and members to provide a comprehensive assessment of the role of the MU in the nation's ballrooms, orchestras, recording studios and radio stations. They're joined by Caspar Melville, Lecturer in Global Creative and Cultural Industries, SOAS, University of London. Also, women heavy metal fans. Rosemary Hill, Lecturer in Sociology at University of Leeds, examines the tensions between being a 'metal' fan and being a woman. From the media representation of women rock fans as groupies to the widely held belief that hard rock and metal is masculine, being a music fan is an experience shaped by gender. How do female fans negotiate their place in a male dominated music scene? Producer:Jayne Egerton.
Dec 21, 2016
Men and Violence - Stag Parties
Men, Masculinities and Violence. Laurie Taylor talks to Anthony Ellis, lecturer in Criminology and Sociology at the University of Salford, about his ethnographic study conducted with men involved in serious crime and violence over the course of two years in the North of England. How do some men come to value physical violence as a resource? Historian Joanna Bourke joins the discussion. Also, stag parties and consumerism. Daniel Briggs, Professor in Criminology at the Universidad Europea de Madrid, unpicks the commercial and emotional motivations of men taking part in stag 'dos'. Is such stereotypical excessive and deviant behaviour ultimately rooted in commercial ideology? Producer: Natalia Fernandez.
Dec 14, 2016
Success and Luck - Cosmopolitanism and Private Education
Success and Luck: Good Fortune and the Myth of Meritocracy. Laurie Taylor talks to Robert H. Frank, Professor of Economics at Cornell University's Johnson School of Management, about the role luck has to play in life's successes, or failures. Frank argues that chance is much more significant than people give it credit for. Lynsey Hanley, writer and Visiting Fellow at the Research Centre for Literature and Cultural History at Liverpool John Moores University, joins the discussion. Also, Claire Maxwell, Reader of Sociology of Education at the UCL Institute of Education, University College London, talks about her co-authored paper looking at the attitudes of privately-educated young women towards the idea of cosmopolitanism. Did they feel like global citizens, or were their aspirations confined to the local and the national? Producer: Natalia Fernandez.
Dec 07, 2016
Foie gras & the politics of taste - Memories of Irish food
Foie gras: The politics of taste. Laurie Taylor talks to Michaela DeSoucey, Assistant Professor of Sociology at North Carolina State University, about the controversies that surround this luxury product. What makes us see some foods as 'wrong' and worthy of prohibition? They're joined by the distinguished anthropologist, Henrietta Moore. Also, memories of Irish food. Angela Maye-Banbury, Principal Lecturer at Sheffield Hallam University, talks about her research with working class Irish male migrants whose evocative recollections of the food back home illuminate their sense of the past. Producer: Natalia Fernandez.
Nov 30, 2016
Racial segregation, Dementia and hair care
Racial segregation in the United States: Laurie Taylor explores a provocative new study which sheds light on the racism which still endures today. Nicholas Guyatt, lecturer in American History at the University of Cambridge, asks why America's founding fathers failed to include Black and Native American people in their cherished ideals of equality. Kehinde Anderws, Associate Professor in Sociology at Birmingham City University, provides a Black British perspective. Also, hairdressing for people with dementia. A new study by Sarah Campbell, Research Associate at the University of Manchester, discovered the importance of salon chat and human touch to women and men who struggled to recall the past. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Nov 23, 2016
Population change - Chronic illness
Population change - how will it transform the world? Laurie Taylor talks to Sarah Harper, Professor of Gerontology at the University of Oxford, about one of the greatest global challenges of the 21st century. She's joined by Robert Mayhew, Professor of Historical Geography at the University of Bristol. Also, a cross cultural study of chronic illness management. Ivaylo Vassilev, Senior Research Fellow in Health Sciences at the University of Southampton, discusses the different experiences and perceptions of people suffering with diabetes in the UK and Bulgaria. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Nov 16, 2016
Evangelicals - Troubled families
Evangelicals in London: Laurie Taylor talks to Anna Strhan, Lecturer In Religious Studies at the University of Kent, about her study of the everyday lives of members of a conservative, evangelical Anglican church at the heart of the modern city. How do they navigate work and faith in a largely secular society? They're joined by Linda Woodhead, Professor of Sociology of Religion, at Lancaster University Also, 'troubled families': Tracy Shildrick, Professor of Sociology at Leeds University, draws on interviews with different generations of deeply disadvantaged families who are often blamed for their multiple problems, including poverty. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Nov 09, 2016
Drone warfare, Fitness instructors
Drone warfare: from soldiering to assassination? Laurie Taylor talks to the US philosopher, Laurie Calhoun, about her study of remote controlled killing. Has self defence become naked aggression in the Drone age. She argues that 'black ops' are now standard operating proceedure. Professor David Galbreath, Professor of International Security at the University of Bath, offers an alternative perspective. Also, the precarity of personal trainers. Geraint Harvey, Senior Lecturer in Industrial Relations at the University of Birmingham, discusses a new study which claims that their working conditions represent a new form of hyper flexible and insecure work. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Nov 02, 2016
Hoods - Construction Blacklist
Hood: a cultural history of a seemingly neutral garment which has long been associated with violence, from the Executioner to the KKK and inner city gangs. Laurie Taylor talks to the America writer, Alison Kinney, about the material and symbolic meaning of hoods. Also, the blacklisting of employees. Dr Paul Lashmar, Senior Lecturer in Journalism at the University of Sussex, examines a hidden history of discrimination. He's joined by Jack Fawbert, Associate Lecturer at Anglia Ruskin University, who provides the most contemporary and widespread instance of blacklisting in the UK - an extraordinary corporate crime which led to over 150 current or retired building workers reaching a substantial out of court settlement with the country's eight largest building employers earlier this year. All had been blacklisted for their trade union activities and alleged political views. How did this happen? Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Oct 26, 2016
House of Commons - Voting and Inequality
The House of Commons - an anthropologist's guide to the political 'tribe'. Emma Crewe, Professorial Research Associate at SOAS, spent two years doing interviews in the Palace of Westminster and MPs constituencies. She talks to Laurie Taylor about her study, which provides a fascinating glimpse into the hidden mechanisms of parliamentary democracy. She's joined by Lord Daniel Finkelstein, political commentator and associate editor at The Times. Also, Anne Phillips, Graham Wallas Professor of Political Science, asks if inequality impacts on rates of voting in general elections. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Oct 19, 2016
Rentier capitalism - Protest camps
The Corruption of Capitalism & the rise of the rentiers. Laurie Taylor talks to Guy Standing, Professor at the School of Oriental and African Studies, who claims we're living through a Second Gilded Age, one which mirrors the vast inequality and concentration of wealth in the hands of the few which characterised late 19th century America. The difference now is that it's global and its beneficiaries are mainly the owners of property. So is capitalism now rigged in favour of a rentier class? They're joined by David Smith, the Economics Editor of The Times. Also, Protest camps: Anna Feigenbaum, Senior Lecturer in Digital Storytelling at Bournemouth University, charts the transnational history of tents pitched for political change.
Oct 12, 2016
Political polarisation, An anthropologist's guide to naming
Political polarisation in America. Laurie Taylor talks to Marc Hetherington, Professor of Political Science at Vanderbilt University, about why distrust of the opposite party is now so common in the US. Is the same pattern emerging in Britain? They're joined by Robert Ford, Professor of Political Science at the University of Manchester. Also, an anthropologist's guide to names and naming with Barbara Bodenhorn, Emeritus Fellow, Pembroke College, University of Cambridge. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Oct 05, 2016
Higher Education - Crisis or Change?
Higher education - crisis or change? A special programme exploring the role, meaning and future of a university education in a globalised world. It was once assumed that university graduates, particularly those from working class backgrounds, had a route to social mobility via a degree. Sara Goldrick-Rab, Professor of Higher Education Policy and Sociology at Temple University, tells Laurie Taylor why her new study suggests the end of the American dream of self improvement. Half the students, in her sample of 3,000 disadvantaged young adults, dropped out of college due to a lack of financial resources. Lorenza Antonucci, Senior Lecturer in Sociology at Teeside University, compared the lives of students in England, Italy and Sweden and found that, contrary to what is assumed by HE policies, participating in university education now exacerbates inequality. Thomas Docherty, Professor of English and of Comparative Literature at the University of Warwick, joins the discussion, placing these developments in the context of an increasing marketisation of education which, he argues, has turned the university into the servant of the economy. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Sep 28, 2016
Shyness - Names
Shyness: Laurie Taylor talks to Joe Moran, Professor of English and Cultural History at Liverpool John Moores University and the author of study of the 'shrinking violet' in history and sociology. Also, a sociology of naming. Jane Pilcher, Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Leicester, explores the relationship between names and our sense of identity. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Sep 21, 2016
Men dressing up - The male 'suit'
The male 'suit': Christopher Breward, Professor of Cultural History at the University of Edinburgh, talks to Laurie Taylor about the myriad forms and meanings of a garment which has dominated men's wardrobes for 400 years. From Saville Row to Wall St; in times of crisis, as well as celebration; the tailored suit is so ubiquitous that we take it for granted, ignoring its complex history and many varieties, including the Zoot Suit and Le Smoking. Although it embodies ideas of traditional masculinity and respectability, it has also been subverted by women, musicians and revolutionaries Also, men 'dressing up'. Barbara Brownie, a senior lecturer at University of Hertfordshire, explores how, in recent years, the wearing of costumes has become an increasingly masculine pursuit. Through historical re-enactment, superhero 'cosplay', and the personalisation of characters in online games, a new generation of men are taking pleasure in costume. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Sep 14, 2016
Airport security, Retiring to Spain
Airport security: what are the costs of a surveillance regime which turns us all into potential suspects? Laurie Taylor talks to Rachel Hall, Associate Professor in Communications at Syracuse University, New York, about her study into the 'transparent traveller' who must submit their bags and bodies to technologies aimed at countering terrorism. Also, Anya Ahmed, Senior Lecturer in Social Policy at the University of Salford, explores the pleasures and pitfalls of retiring to Spain in her research into the lives and times of working class British women who've made this choice. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Jul 27, 2016
Food bank Britain, Food poverty in Europe
Hunger pains: Life inside foodbank Britain. Kayleigh Garthwaite, Leverhulme Trust funded researcher in the Centre for Health and Inequalities Research , Durham University, interviewed hundreds of people who depend on emergency food provision, one of the most controversial by products of the UK government's 'austerity' programme. Critics of these economic policies claim that food poverty has now become a major issue for many citizens - Trussell Trust foodbank use is at a record high with over one million three-day emergency food supplies given to people in crisis in 2015/16. Beyond the statistics, the study focuses on the experience and feelings of users of foodbanks, as well as the volunteers. Stewart Lansley, Economist and visiting fellow at the School of Policy Studies, University of Bristol, joins the discussion, providing a historical perspective on hunger in Britain. Also, food poverty in Europe. Owen Davis, Doctoral Candidate in Social Policy at the University of Kent, places hunger in Britain in a wider context. How do we compare to other countries? Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Jul 20, 2016
The English Defence League; 'Real' immigrants
The English Defence League: A study of the individuals who comprise this far right movement. Hilary Pilkington, Professor of Sociology at the University of Manchester, provides fresh and timely insights into a politics built on English identity and opposition to 'Islamism'. They're joined by Nasar Meer, Professor of Comparative Citizenship and Social Policy at Strathclyde University, Who's a 'real' immigrant and who's 'not really' an immigrant? Martina Byrne, Lecturer in the School of Social Policy, Social Policy and Social Justice at University College, Dublin, discusses her study into middle class attitudes to immigration. Why do white Irish professionals consider that white Eastern Europeans are immigrants but white French and Australians are not? Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Jul 13, 2016
Political women and language, The morality of sleep medication
Political women, gender and speech: Laurie Taylor talks to Deborah Cameron, Rupert Murdoch Professor of Language and Communication at the University of Oxford, about her analysis of the performances of the three female party leaders who took part in televised debates during the 2015 UK General Election campaign. What were the similarities and differences between the women and their male colleagues, as well as between the women themselves and how was it taken up as an issue in media coverage of the campaign? Also, the morality of sleep medications. Jonathan Gabe, Professor of Sociology at Royal Holloway, University of London, talks about his study into attitudes towards the prescribing and taking of sleeping pills. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Jul 06, 2016
Good neighbours, The connection between sport and domestic abuse
Good Neighbours and the democracy of everyday life. Our neighbours do small favours and greet us on the street. They also, on occasion, startle us with noises at night and even betray us to the authorities. Laurie Taylor talks to Nancy Rosenblum, the Senator Joseph Clark Professor of Ethics in Politics and Government at Harvard University, about her study into our many and varied encounters with the people 'next door' - from suburbia to popular culture; in peaceful times & during disasters and across time and culture. They're joined by Graham Crow, Professor of Sociology at the University of Edinburgh. Also, the connection between sporting events and violence against women. Jodie Swallow, Post Graduate Research Student at Chester University, discusses her research into women's experience of domestic abuse in the context of the FIFA World Cup and the Six Nations Rugby Union Tournament. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Jun 29, 2016
A special programme on Pierre Bourdieu
A special programme on Pierre Bourdieu: Laurie Taylor explores the ideas and legacy of the French sociologist, best known for establishing the concepts of cultural, social, and symbolic forms of capital (as opposed to traditional economic forms of capital). His book 'Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgment of Taste' was judged the sixth most important sociological work of the twentieth century by the International Sociological Association. His work is credited with enhancing the understanding of the ways in which the social order and power are transferred across generations. Laurie is joined by Diane Reay, Professor of Education at Cambridge University, Derron Wallace, Post Doctoral Fellow at Brandeis University and Kirsty Morrin, Phd Student at the University of Manchester and co-convenor for the Bourdieu Study Group. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Jun 22, 2016
Secrecy at Work, Drugs and Employment
Secrecy at Work: the hidden architecture within our organisations. Laurie Taylor talks to Christopher Grey, Professor of Organization Studies at Royal Holloway, University of London, about his study into the secrecy which is woven into the fabric of our lives at work - from formal secrecy, as we see in the case of trade and state secrets based on law and regulation; informal secrecy based on networks and trust; and public or open secrecy, where what is known goes undiscussed. Also, drug taking and employment: how does the UK anti drugs policy shape our concept of 'employable citizens'? Charlotte Smith, Lecturer in Management at the University of Leicester, argues that drug consumption, in neo liberal times, is positioned as the antithesis of economic potential. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Jun 15, 2016
Engineers of Jihad, Orange Jumpsuits
Engineers of Jihad: Laurie Taylor asks why so many Islamist extremists come from an engineering background. He talks to Steffen Hertog, Associate Professor of Comparative Politics at the London School of Economics, about a new study which finds that Islamist and right-wing extremism have more in common than either does with left-wing extremism, in which engineers are absent while social scientists and humanities students are prominent. Is there a mindset susceptible to certain types of extremism? They're joined by Raffaello Pantucci, Director of International Security Studies at the Royal United Services Institute. Orange prison jumpsuits: Elspeth Van Veeren, Lecturer in Political Science at the University of Bristol, discusses the US prisoner uniform which took on a transnational political life due to the Global War on Terror. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Jun 08, 2016
Ale drinkers, Northern accents
Northern accents at work: Trainee teachers are under pressure to speak the Queen's English. Laurie Taylor talks to Alex Barrata, lecturer in Linguistics at the University of Manchester, & author of a study which finds that certain regional accents are frowned upon in a profession that would normally oppose discrimination. They're joined by Paul Kerswill, Professor in the Department of Language and Linguistic Science at the University of York. Sensible drinkers: the drinking discourses of real ale enthusiasts. Thomas Thurnell-Read, Lecturer in Cultural Sociology at the University of Loughborough, explores the way in which some drinkers construct themselves as sociable and self controlled, in contrast to their hedonistic and unruly counterparts Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Jun 01, 2016
'Queer' wars, Nigerian beauty pageants
'Queer' Wars: The claim that LGBT rights are human rights meets fierce, sometimes deadly opposition in many parts of the world. Politicians and religious leaders invoke tradition to deflect such universal claims, accusing Western activists of neo colonial interference. Laurie Taylor talks to Dennis Altman, Professorial Fellow in Human Security at La Trobe University, Melbourne, who has examined the international polarisation over sexual rights. He asks how best we can advocate for change in contexts where people face violence and imprisonment for their sexuality and gender. They're joined by Lama Abu- Odeh, Professor in Law at Georgetown University, Washington. Also, Nigerian Beauty Pageants. Juliet Gilbert, Teaching Fellow in African Studies and Anthropology at the University of Birmingham, reflects on the popularity of such spectacles in a country where crowned winners use pageantry as a 'platform' for success, hoping to overcome the double bind of gender and generation in a deeply religious and patriarchal society. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
May 25, 2016
Glasgow gangs - Russian gangs
Glasgow & Russian gangs: Laurie Taylor explores their origins, organisation and meaning in two strikingly different cultures. He talks to Alistair Fraser, Lecturer in Criminology and Sociology at the University of Glasgow, whose fieldwork with young Glaswegian men, demonstrates that gangland life is inextricably bound together with perceptions of masculinity and identity and the quest to find a place in the community. They're joined by Svetlana Stephenson, a Reader in Sociology at London Metropolitan University, who found that Russian gangs, which saw a spectacular rise in the post Soviet, market economy in the 1990s, are substantially incorporated into their communities, with bonds and identities that bridge the worlds of illegal enterprise and legal respectability. Alistair Fraser was in the final shortlist of six for this year's BSA/Thinking Allowed Ethnography Award. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
May 18, 2016
TV in prison - Live music in prison
Prison TV: Laurie Taylor considers the therapeutic role of television in the modern day jail. He talks to Victoria Knight, Senior Research Fellow at De Montfort University, Leicester, and author of a new study examining the way in which TVs in cells manage the everyday life and emotions of prisoners; helping deliver both care and control. In addition, she offers insights into how technology in prison is evolving globally. They're joined by David Wilson, Professor of Criminology at Birmingham City University. Also, prison 'blues': BB King, the African American Blues musician, died on 14 May 2015. One year on, Les Back, Professor of Sociology at Goldsmiths, London, focuses on his performances in prisons. Over a 25-year period, B.B. King performed for free in 47 different jails across America. Situating his concerts within a wider political context in which a crisis was unfolding in US prisons, Back explores the implications of King's prison 'blues' and interrogates the meaning of music behind bars. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
May 11, 2016
Migrant women, Wedding paradoxes
Migrant women in Britain: Laurie Taylor talks to Linda McDowell, Professor of Human Geography at the University of Oxford and author of a sweeping study of generations of immigrant working women in Britain. From textile mill workers in the 1940s to shopkeepers in the 50s, nannies of the 90s and software developers of today, these first and second generation migrants have been in the vanguard of a social revolution in women's contribution to the economy in the second half of the 20th century. In factories and hospitals, care homes and universities they've played a lasting role in British society, in spite of recurrent discrimination. But what do they have to say about their work and experience? Also, Julia Carter, Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the Canterbury Christ Church University, considers the reasons why, in an era when weddings have never been more liberated from cultural norms and official control, couples still choose to follow the same assumed traditions. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
May 04, 2016
The Flaneur - Walking in the City
Walking in the city: The flaneur and flaneuse. Laurie Taylor presents a themed programme which explores the history and meaning of the urban stroller, past and present. Keith Tester, Adjunct Professor at the Thesis Eleven Centre for Cultural Sociology, LaTrobe University, Melbourne, charts the origins of the 'Flaneur'; the "man of the crowd" of Edgar Allan Poe and Charles Baudelaire, and one of the heroes of Walter Benjamin's Arcades Project. Matthew Beamont, co-director of University College London's Urban Lab, contends that the city idler isn't simply a by product of modernism, illuminating London's past via the nocturnal wanderings of poets, novelists and thinkers. And Lauren Elkin, lecturer in the department of English and Comparative Literature at the American University of Paris, counters the implicit assumption that the city belongs to a figure of masculine privilege and leisure. She introduces us to the transgressive 'flaneuse' who claims the right to city space. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Apr 27, 2016
Happiness and government, Good parenting
Happiness - Should the government promote it? Danny Dorling, Halford Mackinder Professor of Geography at the University of Oxford, talks to Laurie Taylor about the necessity to inspire a better politics with new measures of what matters most to us. These would include the avoidance of misery, the gaining of long term life satisfaction, the feeling of fulfilment, of worth, of kindness, of usefulness and love. Politicians, he contends, should promote a collective good which incorporates these priorities. They're joined by Paul Ormerod, economist and Visiting Professor at UCL Centre for Decision Making Uncertainty, who contends that policymakers should not claim that they can increase happiness through public policy decisions. Also, do dominant ideals of 'good' parenting contain a class bias? Esther Dermott. Professor of Sociology, argues that the activities of the most educationally advantaged parents are accepted as the benchmark against whom others are assessed. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Apr 20, 2016
Ethnography Award winner, Transcultural football
The winner of the 2016 British Sociological Association & Thinking Allowed Ethnography award, Maxim Bolt, Lecturer in Anthropology and African Studies at the University of Birmingham, talks to Laurie Taylor about his groundbreaking study of insecure lives on the border farms between Zimbabwe and South Africa. How do people create homes and stability in times of mass unemployment and uncertainty? Also, transcultural sport: Max Mauro, Associate Lecturer in Sports Studies at Southampton Solent University, considers young Congolese migrants establishing a sense of belonging in a Dublin football team. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Apr 13, 2016
The BSA and Thinking Allowed Ethnography Award Shortlist
The Ethnography award 'short list': Thinking Allowed, in association with the British Sociological Association, presents a special programme devoted to the academic research which has been short listed for our third annual award for a study that has made a significant contribution to ethnography, the in-depth analysis of the everyday life of a culture or sub culture. Laurie Taylor is joined by three of the judges: Claire Alexander, Professor of Sociology at the University of Manchester, Helen Sampson, Director of the Seafarers International Research Centre at Cardiff University and Olivia Sheringham, Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the School of Geography at Queen Mary, University of London. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Apr 06, 2016
Dance halls, Pick-up artists
Dance halls: a social and cultural history. James Nott, Lecturer in History at the University of St. Andrews, talks to Laurie Taylor about the origins, meaning and decline in a ritual which was once central to many young people's romantic lives and leisure time. He's joined by Caspar Melville, Lecturer in Global, Creative and Community Studies at SOAS. The 'Seduction Community': a study into the mores and codes of self styled, male 'pick up artists'. Rachel O'Neill, Phd graduate at Kings College London, interviewed men whose attitudes to women have attracted considerable condemnation in the wake of the banning of Julien Blanc, US 'pick up artist', from the UK. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Mar 30, 2016
Eviction, Self-build
Evicted: Laurie Taylor explores the lives of people who are compelled to leave their homes. Matthew Desmond, Associate Professor in the Social Sciences at Harvard University, went into the poorest neighbourhoods in Milwaulkee to tell the stories of people on the edge of a rapidly expanding form of hardship in America. They're joined by Kirsteen Paton, Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Leeds, who provides a British perspective on evictions. Self Build: creating a home of their own in the absence of 'Grand Designs' style budgets. Michaela Benson, Senior Lecturer in Sociology at Goldsmiths, University of London, discusses her research amongst people who are determined to make affordable housing for themselves and their families. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Mar 23, 2016
Philanthropy - Charity
Philanthropy & charitable giving: Is there such a thing as a free gift? Laurie Taylor talks to Linsey McGoey, Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Essex and author of a study of contemporary philanthropy. The amount of money placed in philanthropic trusts helps make the charitable sector one of the fastest growing global industries. Is this a new 'golden age' of giving which promises to replace the role of government as provider of social welfare? What are the potential conflicts between good deeds and hard profit? They're joined by Tom Hughes Hallett, philanthropist and Non Executive Chair of the Marshall Institute at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Also, John Mohan, Professor of Social Policy at the University of Birmingham, discusses his British study into the logic of charity in 'hard times'. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Mar 17, 2016
Small towns, Patient rescue and resuscitation
Small towns: Laurie Taylor talks to Steve Hanson, Associate Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Lincoln, and author of an ethnographic study of Todmorden in 'austere' times. Dr Hanson returned to his home town, on the border of Lancashire and Yorkshire, to immerse himself in the life and times of a place which has almost halved since its industrial heyday. He finds micro worlds that never encounter each other, debunking the myth that people in small towns all know each other's business. They're joined by Katherine Tyler, Lecturer in Anthropology at the University of Exeter. Rescuing 'acute' patients: what happens when patients in a hospital ward become acutely unwell? Nicola Mackintosh, Research Fellow at Kings College, London, interviewed doctors, nurses, health care assistants and managers at two UK hospitals, in order to explore the practice of 'rescue' and patient safety on the front line.
Mar 09, 2016
The debt collection industry, Spousal job loss
The debt collection industry: Laurie Taylor explores what happens when everyday forms of borrowing, such as credit cards, personal loans and store cards, spiral out of control. He talks to Joe Deville, Lecturer in Mobile Work at the University of Lancaster, and author of a study which offers a vivid account of consumer default and the evolution of agencies designed to collect people's debts. He's joined by Adrienne Roberts, Lecturer in International Politics at the University of Manchester, who has researched the growing reliance of households on borrowed money. Also, how do couples react to spousal job loss? Karon Gush, Senior Research Officer at the University of Essex, considers the ways in which couples re-configure their lives and finances in response to one person losing paid employment. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Mar 02, 2016
Refusing adulthood, How young people feel about being poor
Refusing adulthood. Laurie Taylor talks to Susan Neiman, the American moral philosopher, who asks, if and why, some people refuse to grow up. She argues that being an adult allows the opportunity for agency and independence rather than signalling decline. Yet a modern tendency to idolise youth prevents us from seeing the rewards of maturity. They're joined by the writer, Michael Bywater, who wonders if we inhabit a culture of creeping infantilisation. Also, how children and young people feel about being poor. Rys Farthing, social policy researcher, explores how young people living in low-income neighbourhoods feel about their own lives, using data generated as part of a participatory policy project with five groups of young people, aged 11-21. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Feb 24, 2016
Museums and nationalism, Imagining utopias
Museums and the 'nation': What can we learn about nationalism by looking at a country's cultural institutions? Laurie Taylor talks to Peggy Levitt, Professor of Sociology at Wellesley College, and author of a study which explores how museums today represent diversity and make sense of immigration and globalisation. She interviewed a range of museum directors, curators, and policymakers and heard the inside stories of the famous paintings and objects which define collections across the globe; from Europe to the United States, Asia, and the Middle East. They're joined by Julian Spalding, the art critic and writer. Also, imagining utopias. Professor Craig Calhoun, director of the London School of Economics and Political Science, considers the role of impossible dreams in shaping our reality. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Feb 17, 2016
Weather forecasting, Young people and politics
Weather forecasting: Laurie Taylor explores a scientific art form rooted in unpredictability. He talks to Phaedra Daipha, Assistant Professor of Sociology at Rutgers University, who spent years immersing herself in a regional office of the National Weather Service in America. How do forecasters decide if a storm is to be described as severe or hazardous; or a day is breezy or brisk? Do they master uncertainty any better than other expert decision makers such as stockbrokers and poker players? Charged with the onerous responsibility of protecting the life and property of US citizens, how do they navigate the uncertain and chaotic nature of the atmosphere? Also, young people, populism and politics. How do young Europeans regard the political process and are they more attracted to populist ideologies than their older counterparts? Gary Pollock, Professor of Politics at Manchester Metropolitan University, has used survey evidence from 14 European countries, to explore the mixture of political positions held by young people, finding they don't map easily on to the typical 'left-right' spectrum. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Feb 10, 2016
Consumerism, Work-life balance
Consumerism: a history of our modern, material world and the endless quest for more 'things'. Laurie Taylor talks to Frank Trentmann, Professor of History at Birkbeck College, University of London and author of a study which examines how the purchase of goods became the defining feature of contemporary life. They're joined by Rachel Bowlby, Professor of Modern English Literature at University College London. Also, the middle class bias in work/life balance research. Tracey Warren, Professor of Sociology at the University of Nottingham, suggests that working class experience of precarity complicates the debate. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Feb 03, 2016
The Creative Economy, 'Grudge' Spending
The Creative Economy: Angela McRobbie, Professor of Communications at the Goldsmiths, questions what's at stake in the new politics of culture and creativity. Talking to a range of artists, stylists, fashion designers and policy makers, she considers if the new 'creative economy' is a form of labour reform which accustoms the young, urban middle classes to a world of work which lacks the security of previous generations. She's joined by Christopher Frayling, Chancellor of the Arts University, Bournemouth and former Chair of the Arts Council England. Grudge spending: Ian Loader, Professor of Criminology at the University of Oxford, explores how we feel about buying security, compared to more enjoyable forms of spending. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Jan 27, 2016
Con Men in New York, Iconography of punishment
Con men in New York: The little known world of the urban hustler. Laurie Taylor talks to Terry Williams, Professor of Sociology at the New School for Social Research in New York, about his study into the ways in which con artists play their game in back alleys, police precincts and Wall St boiler rooms. He spent years studying their psychological tricks as they scammed tourists with bogus tales, sold off knock offs in Canal St and crafted Ponzi schemes. They're joined by Dick Hobbs, Emeritus Professor of Sociology at the University of Essex. The iconography of punishment. From Piranesi's prison fantasies to Warhol's Electric Chair, images of penal retribution have featured prominently in Western art. Eamonn Carrabine, Professor of Sociology at the University of Essex, asks what we can learn from artistic treatments of the ways in which we've dealt with criminals over time. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Jan 20, 2016
Modern slavery, School lunch boxes
Modern Slavery: Laurie Taylor explores the tensions and dilemmas at the heart of contemporary struggles against enslavement; from forced labour to sex trafficking. He's joined by Julia O'Connell Davidson, the author of a new study which argues that the 'new abolitionist movement' fails to address the fundamental realities of injustice and exploitation in a globalised world. The writer and journalist, Rahila Gupta, offers another perspective. Also, school lunchboxes: Vicki Harman, Senior Lecturer in Sociology at Royal Holloway, University of London, considers the way in which middle class mothers view their children's packed lunches as a reflection of their parenting skills - sometimes struggling to satisfy their children's tastes and keeping on the right side of the school's strict guidelines. Is a home-made cupcake a transgression of rules or a worthy display of good mothering and home baking? Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Jan 13, 2016
The end of 'careers', Humour at work
Identity and work: Laurie Taylor explores selfhood in an era in which our working lives are becoming increasingly uncertain. He talks to Jesse Potter, lecturer in Sociology at Canterbury Christ Church University and author of a new study which interviewed people who'd undergone profound work-life changes. How do individuals achieve meaning and fulfilment when their productive lives fail to satisfy? Also, Paula Jarzabkowski, Professor of Strategic Management at City University London considers how employees use humour to cope with paradox and change. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Jan 06, 2016
Fashion and Beauty
Fashion:pleasure and danger. Laurie Taylor considers the costs of 'keeping up appearances', then and now. From the flaming tutus of ballerinas to the deaths of garment workers: what perils have accompanied changes in dress, for the producers of clothing, as well as the wearers. How have our ideas of style and good looks shifted according to changing notions of masculinity & femininity? What relationship do beards and facial hair have to our understanding of what it means to be a man? And have the vagaries and demands of fashion invariably hurt women more than men, the poor more than the wealthy? Laurie is joined by Christopher Oldstone-Moore, Senior Lecturer in History at Wright State University, Alison Matthews David, Associate Professor in the School of Fashion at Ryerson University and Joanne Entwistle, Senior Lecturer in Culture and Creative Industries at King's College London. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Dec 30, 2015
A Special Programme on Rituals
Rituals at Christmas & beyond. Laurie Taylor presents a special programme on the place of rituals in everyday life. How have they changed over time and do we still need them? He's joined by Adam Kuper, Centennial Professor in Anthropology at the London School of Economics and Political Science; Marina Warner, writer and mythographer and Elizabeth Pleck, Professor Emeritu of History and Human Development & Family Studies at the University of Illinois. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Dec 23, 2015
Chess worlds, Competitive entrepreneurs
Chess players: Laurie Taylor talks to Gary Fine, Professor of Sociology at Northwestern University, and author of a study into the complex, committed and conflict ridden worlds of chess communities, both amateur and professional. They're joined by John Saunders, chess player and writer. Also, the competitive culture of the self-made man. Simon Down, Professor of Management at Anglia Ruskin University, discusses his study of businessmen whose talk of luxury cars and loads of cash represented a bid to gain a higher position in the hierarchy of their group. Producer: Charlie Taylor.
Dec 16, 2015
Land Ownership, Home at work
Land ownership in Britain: Laurie Taylor explores our forgotten acres. He talks to Peter Hetherington, writer and journalist, as well as author of a new book which asks if food security and the housing of the nation is being thwarted by record land prices and speculation. They're joined by Michael Edwards, from the Bartlett School of Planning at University College, London. Also, how employees create a sense of 'home' at work. Rachel Hurdley, Research Fellow in the Department of Sociology at the University of Cardiff, discusses her study of the ways in which people conjure feelings of belonging and intimacy in impersonal work spaces. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Dec 09, 2015
Everyday life, Cafe society
Everyday life: Laurie Taylor talks to Les Back, Professor of Sociology at Goldsmiths, University of London, about his study into those seemingly unimportant aspects of life which throw a spotlight on the relationship between history, culture and biography. Returning to the council estate in Croydon where he grew up, and where his extended family still live - it tells a story about community formation, housing crisis and the geography of class through Christmas decorations. They're joined by Bev Skeggs, fellow Professor of Sociology at Goldsmiths. Also, Sarah Neal, Reader in Sociology at the University of Surrey, discusses multicultural conviviality in coffee shops. Producer: Natalia Fernandez.
Dec 02, 2015
Frauds of the left, Siblings
'Frauds' of the Left: Laurie Taylor examines the intellectual credibility of key thinkers of the New Left. Roger Scruton, Visiting Professor of Philosophy at the University of Oxford, argues that the modern academy is gripped by a form of 'group think' which fails to challenge the positions of theorists such as Michel Foucault and Antonio Gramsci. Has left wing fashion trumped credible argument? They're joined by Mark Fisher, Lecturer in Visual Culture at Goldsmiths, University of London. Also, the significance of siblings in constructing a sense of self. Katherine Davies, Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Sheffield, discusses a study which suggests that the stories people tell about their similarity, or difference, from siblings have a critical role in shaping past, present and future identities. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Nov 25, 2015
Elite jobs, Hairdresser craft
How elite students get elite jobs. Lauren Rivera, Associate Professor of Management and Organisation at Northwestern University's Kellog School of Management, discusses her study into the hiring practices of top investment banks, consultancies and law firms. Do America's elite keep the top jobs for people just like themselves? Louise Ashley, Lecturer in Management Studies at Royal Holloway, University of London, adds a British perspective. Also, hairdressing as craft. Dr Helen Holmes, Hallsworth Research Fellow at the University of Manchester, argues that the craft of such service work is obscured by the intangibility of the product, as well as the fact that it is a female dominated profession. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Nov 18, 2015
Zoos explored, Funeral arranging
Zoos in the modern world: Laurie Taylor talks to David Grazian, Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania and author of 'American Zoo: A Sociological Safari'. Zoos blur the boundaries between culture and nature; animals and humans and separate civilisation from the 'wild'. They are centres of conservation, as well as recreation and reveal the way we project our desires on to the animal kingdom. So how do zoos juggle their many contradictory meanings and what is their future? Also, funeral arranging. Isabelle Szmigin, Professor of Marketing at the University of Birmingham, explores 'consumption' choices which are forced through circumstance and can involve a competing range of sentiments, from love to obligation and regret. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Nov 11, 2015
The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, The hidden life of domestic things
The Transatlantic Trade & Investment Partnership (TTIP) has stirred more passionate controversy than any other trade negotiations. Critics suggest it will undermine democracy and workers' rights, lowering health and safety standards and eroding public services; supporters claim it will produce spectacular growth and job creation. Laurie Taylor explores the likely costs and benefits in a discussion with Gabriel Siles-Brugge, Lecturer in Politics at the University of Manchester and co-author of an analysis of the TTIP. They're joined by the Rt Hon Lord Maude of Horsham, Minister of State for Trade and Investment. Also, the hidden life of domestic things. Sophie Woodward, Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Manchester, explores the dormant objects we stash away in drawers, cupboards and lofts. What can they tell us about the history of our homes, lives and relationships? Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Nov 04, 2015
Ambivalent atheism; Neoliberalism and old age
Ambivalent atheism: Laurie Taylor talks to Lois Lee, Research Associate with the Institute of Advanced Studies at University College, London, and author of a study of non religious people. In the UK today a variety of identity labels exist which articulate non belief -atheist, agnostic, humanist, secular, rationalist, free thinker and sceptic. Most of these terms are associated with organised and activist forms of non religion. But what of the ambivalent atheist, whose beliefs may be fuzzier, less clear cut? They're joined by the philosopher, Julian Baggini. Also, old age and neoliberalism. John Macnicol, Visiting Professor of Social Policy at the London School of Economics, & one of Europe's leading academic analysts of old age and ageing, asks if the idea of retirement is being replaced by the belief that citizens should (or be forced to) work later in life. In a harsher economy is the notion of old age, as a protected stage of life, becoming increasingly anachronistic? Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Oct 28, 2015
Human Rights in Northern Ireland, Social Mobility and Education
Northern Ireland & the unusual role of human rights discourse in the peace process. Laurie Taylor talks to Jennifer Curtis, honorary fellow in Social Anthropology at the University of Edinburgh, about her study into the way in which human rights became 'war by other means'. Also, Vik Loveday, lecturer in Sociology at Goldsmiths College, discusses her research into attitudes to social mobility within higher education. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Oct 21, 2015
Being Single - Modern Romance
Modern romance: love in the age of technology. Laurie Taylor talks to Eric Klinenberg, Professor of Sociology at New York University, & co- author of a new study exploring the dilemmas & pleasures of dating in the age of Tinder. He's joined by the writer & blogger, Zoe Margolis. Also, Ai Ling Lay, lecturer in Marketing & Management at the University of Leicester, discusses her research on 'singles' in the marketplace. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Oct 14, 2015
Female Serial Killers, Secular Stagnation
Female Serial Killers: Although there is much written on male serial killers, there's less analysis of their female equivalent, perhaps because of their comparitive rarity. Elizabeth Yardley, Associate Professor of Criminology at Birmingham City University, talks to Laurie Taylor about her new study into the social context in which such killings occur. They're joined by Lisa Downing, Professor of French Discourses of Sexuality at the University of Birmingham. Also Secular Stagnation: the impossibility of an economic future for our grandchildren? Kevin O'Rourke, the Chichele Professor of Economic History at All Souls College Oxford, discusses the recent revival of the hypothesis that 'secular stagnation' - negligible or zero economic growth - could lead to permanently depressed economies, if no policy counter-measures are taken. What's the history of this theory and how applicable is it today? Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Oct 07, 2015
Russia's Red Web - Older Entrepreneurs
The 'Red Web': The Internet in Russia is a totalitarian tool but is also a device by which totalitarianism can be resisted. Laurie Taylor talks to Andrei Soldatov, a Moscow based journalist and co-author of a book which explores the Russian government's battle with the future of the Internet. Drawing on numerous interviews with officials in the Ministry of Communications, as well as the web activists who resist the Kremlin, he exposes a huge online surveillance state. What hope is there for ordinary digital citizens? They're joined by Natalia Rulyova, a Lecturer in Russian at the University of Birmingham. Also, older entrepreneurs. Oliver Mallett, Lecturer in Management at the University of Durham, discusses the obstacles faced by late entrants to enterprise culture. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Sep 30, 2015
Cross-Class Marriage, The social history of women-only train carriages
Cross class marriage: Laurie Taylor talks to Jessi Streib, Assistant Professor of Sociology at Duke University, US, about her study into the lives of people who married a partner raised in a social class very different from their own. Do spouses from blue collar backgrounds take a laissez faire approach to daily life? Are those from white collar, professional families likely to want to take organisational control? They're joined by Mary Evans, Centennial Professor at the Gender Institute at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Also, the social history of women only train carriages: did they promote safety or inequality? Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Sep 23, 2015
Stop and search, Cancer patients and welfare reform
Stop & Search: Laurie Taylor explores a police practice which is seen as a vital tool against crime by law enforcers, but has been dogged by controversy. He's joined by Michael Shiner, Associate Professor of Social Policy at the LSE, and editor of a new collection of research which assesses the use & misuse of the tactic. How did it arise and what is its future? Also, Suzanne Moffatt, Senior Lecturer at Newcastle University, discusses her study into a group of cancer patients experience of current welfare reforms. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Sep 16, 2015
Prison gangs in US, Millionaire children
Prison gangs in the USA. Laurie Taylor talks to David Skarbek, Lecturer in the Department of Political Economy at King's College, London, about his research into the hidden world of convict culture, inmate hierarchy and jail politics. He finds sophisticated organisations, often with written constitutions, behind the popular image of chaotic violence. They're joined by Jane Wood, Senior Lecturer in Forensic Psychology at the University of Kent. Also, what would children do with an unexpected windfall of a million pounds? Sally Power, Professor of Education at Cardiff University, asked this question in order to explore children's values and priorities. Would they spend, save or give it away? Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Jul 29, 2015
The colour black, Mixed-race people
Black: the cultural and historical meaning of the darkest colour. From the 'little black dress' which epitomises chic, to its links to death, depression and evil, 'black' embodies many contrasting values. White Europeans exploited the negative associations of 'black' in enslaving millions of Africans whilst artists & designers have endlessly deployed the colour in their creative work. Laurie Taylor talks to John Harvey, Life Fellow of Emmanuel College, Cambridge, about his new book which explores how 'black' came to have such ambiguous and varied meanings. They're joined by Bidisha, the writer and broadcaster. Also, the last 20 years has seen a major growth in the number of people of mixed racial heritage. Miri Song, Professor of Sociology at the University of Kent, talks about her research into the ways that multiracial parents with white partners talk to their their children about race and identity. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Jul 22, 2015
Middle-class drug dealers, Globalisation of white collar work
Middle class drug dealers: Laurie Taylor discusses a study into suburban drug selling amongst well heeled teens in a wealthy suburb of Atlanta, USA. The author, Richard Wright, Professor of Criminal Justice and Criminology in the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies at Georgia State University, reveals a world which provides a striking counterpoint to the devastation of the drug war in poor, minority communities. Instead, he found that middle class 'dealing' rarely disrupted conventional career paths or involved legal risks and violence. A British perspective is provided by Richard Hobbs, Emeritus Professor of Sociology at the University of Essex. Also, white collar jobs which move to the Global South. Shehzad Nadeem, Assistant Professor of Sociology at the City University of New York, charts the impact on emerging economies of the globalisation of IT and service sector work. Is it producing upward mobility in countries like India? Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Jul 15, 2015
Arab Londoners - Migrants and British identity
Being Arab in London: diaspora and difference in the city. Laurie Taylor talks to Ramy M. K. Aly, Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the American University in Cairo, about his seven year study of the everyday experiences of young, British-Arab people and the ways in which London has shaped and changed their ethnic identities. Also, British identity among migrant groups. Dr Saffron Karlsen, Senior Lecturer in Social Research, explores the degree to which ethnic and religious minorities feel themselves to be British. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Jul 08, 2015
Factory music, Volunteering post-recession
Factory music:the role that popular music plays in workers' culture. Marek Korczynski, Chair in Sociology of Work at the Nottingham University Business School, talks to Laurie Taylor about his study of a British factory that manufactures window blinds, revealing how pop music can enliven monotonous work, providing a sense of community as well as moments of resistance to the tyranny of the workplace. Also, volunteering in 'hard times': James Laurence ESRC Research Fellow at the University of Manchester, examines how the 2008-9 recession has affected peoples' willingness to do formal voluntary work as well as informal helping. Producer:Jayne Egerton.
Jul 01, 2015
White Working Class Boys; French Thought
White, working class boys at school: Laurie Taylor talks to Garth Stahl. Lecturer in the School of Education at the University of South Australia, and author of a new study about boys' underachievement in Britain. Why do so many disengage from education? They're joined by Heather Mendick, Reader in Education at Brunel University. Also, the grand, French intellectual tradition. Dr Sudhir Hazareesingh, political scientist and writer, explores the prominence of thinkers in the life and history of France. From Voltaire to Foucault, how have intellectuals contributed to the distinctiveness of the nation? Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Jun 24, 2015
The 'Precariat'; Humour in Sociology
The 'Precariat': Laurie Taylor talks to Guy Standing, Professor in Development Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. His highly influential 2011 book introduced the 'Precariat' as an emerging mass class, characterized by inequality and insecurity. Professor Standing argues that that the increasingly global nature of the Precariat is leading to the kind of social unrest which carries grave political risks. Marking the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta, he takes his work a stage further, outlining A Precariat Charter which might award greater rights to this new 'class'. They're joined by Dr Lisa Mckenzie, Research Fellow in Sociology at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Also, whilst humour and laughter have been studied by social scientists, scholars who use wit, jokes and satire may get marginalised from the academy. Cate Watson, Professor in the School of Education at the University of Stirling, argues against this neglect of humour's potential. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Jun 17, 2015
Lesbian Lives in Russia; Big Data
Lesbian lives in Russia: Laurie Taylor talks to Francesca Stella, Research Fellow in Sociology at the University of Glasgow, and author of a study which explores the changing nature of same sex relationships amongst women since the demise of state communism. From the metropolis to the provinces, she finds evidence of women negotiating visible, as well as closeted lives. Also, is 'big data' leading to the pervasive 24/7 surveillance of every moment of our lives? Frank Pasquale, Professor of Law at the University of Maryland, argues that unlimited data collection is having unforeseen and risky consequences. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Jun 10, 2015
Anthropology - The Future of the A-level; Crime and Blame
Anthropology: the future of the A level. Laurie Taylor talks to Joy Hendry, Emeritus Professor of Anthropology at Oxford Brookes University, about the proposed cancellation of this course. At a time of global conflict, is it the right time to axe a discipline which allows insight into cultures and ideas very different from our own? Also, 'blame' in the criminal justice system. Tim Hillier, Associate Head of Leicester de Montfort Law School, De Montfort University, Leicester, explores the role and parameters of culpability within the legal system. He's joined by Lord Ken Macdonald QC and former Director of Public Prosecutions. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Jun 03, 2015
Happiness Industry, Wellness Syndrome
The Happiness Industry: Laurie Taylor talks to Will Davies, Senior Lecturer in Politics at Goldsmiths, University of London, who asks why policy makers have become increasingly focused on measuring happiness. Also, 'wellness syndrome': Andre Spicer, Professor of Organisational Behaviour at City University, argues that visions of positive social change have been replaced by a focus on individual well-being. They're joined by Laura Hyman, Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Portsmouth. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
May 26, 2015
Poverty in Britain; Unemployment As a Choice
Poverty in Britain: Laurie Taylor talks to Joanna Mack, Learning and Teaching producer at the Open University, about the largest ever survey of UK levels of economic and social deprivation. Her co-authored book, 'Breadline Britain..' claims that poverty is at an all time high. Also, claimants who reject work. Andrew Dunn, Senior Lecturer in Social Policy at Lincoln University, has conducted research which suggests that some unemployed people turn down 'undesirable' work, thus choosing to remain in financial hardship. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
May 19, 2015
The Gym: A Social History; Tattoos at Work
The gym: Laurie Taylor explores the social history of the gymnasium with the writer and sociologist, Eric Chaline. Although this 'temple of perfection' appears primarily as a site for producing the 'body beautiful', this study finds it has also been a battleground in political, sexual and cultural wars. They're joined by Louise Mansfield, Sociologist of Sport at Brunel University Also, tattoos at work: Andrew Timming, Reader in Management at the University of St Andrews, talks about prejudices towards body art in the service sector. Does possession of a tattoo impact on job prospects? Producer: Jayne Egerton.
May 11, 2015
Division of Domestic Labour - Gentrification and Working-Class Residents
Gentrification: its impact on working class residents. Laurie Taylor talks to Kirsteen Paton, lecturer in the School of Sociology and Social Policy at the University of Leeds, about her groundbreaking research in a neighbourhood undergoing urban renewal and improvement. Many such studies have focused on middle class lifestyles rather than the experience of less well off members of the community. Are working class residents inevitably displaced by gentrification and must traditional ways of life always disappear? Or can poorer people re-work the process and gain on their own terms? They're joined by Melissa Butcher, lecturer in Human Geography at Birkbeck, University of London. Also, 'sharing the load': the division of domestic labour amongst couples where women are the higher earners. Clare Lyonette, Senior Research Fellow at the University of Warwick, asks if men do more when they earn less. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
May 05, 2015
Post Traumatic Stress; Managing Beds in the NHS
Post traumatic stress in male combat veterans: Laurie Taylor talks to Nick Caddick, Research Assistant at Loughborough University, and co-author of a study exploring the relationship between masculinity, militarism and mental health. Do conventional notions of male bravery and resilience impede soldiers' ability to access to support? They're joined by Anthony King, Professor in Sociology at the University of Exeter. Also, managing beds in the NHS. Pressure on beds is an acute challenge to the health service. Davina Allen, Professor of Healthcare Organisation at Cardiff University, discusses her study into bed utilisation from the point of view of UK hospital nurses. How is access to beds granted or denied and who decides? Producer: Natalia Fernandez.
Apr 29, 2015
Stories Behind Immigration - Winner of the Ethnography Award
This year, the BBC's Thinking Allowed, in association with the British Sociological Association, launched the second year of its award for a study that has made a significant contribution to ethnography, the in-depth analysis of the everyday life of a culture or sub-culture. Laurie Taylor presents a special edition of Thinking Allowed to mark the announcement of the winner of the 2015 award. Laurie and a team of leading academics - Professor Beverley Skeggs, Professor Adam Kuper, Dr Coretta Phillips and Dr Louise Westmarland - were tasked with judging the study that has made the most significant contribution to ethnography over the past year. Ethnographic studies in the past have often illuminated lives which were little understood or stigmatised such as the urban poor in 1930s Chicago and the mods and rockers of 50s Britain. This year the judges combed through an extraordinary diversity of entries to arrive at a shortlist of 7: Flip-Flop: A Journey Through Globalisation's Backroads by Caroline Knowles. The Social Order of the Underworld: How Prison Gangs Govern the American Penal System by David Skarbek Lesbian Lives in Soviet and Post-Soviet Russia by Francesca Stella. Illegality Inc: Clandestine Migration and the Business of Bordering Europe by Ruben Andersson. Songs of the Factory: Pop Music, Culture and Resistance by Marek Korczynski Human Rights as War by Other Means: Peace Politics in Northern Ireland by Jennifer Curtis. Educational Binds of Poverty: The Lives of School Children by Ceri Brown. After much passionate and lively debate, the winner can be announced. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Apr 22, 2015
The Ethnography Award 'Shortlist'
The Ethnography award 'short list': Thinking Allowed, in association with the British Sociological Association, presents a special programme devoted to the academic research which has been short listed for our second annual award for a study that has made a significant contribution to ethnography, the in-depth analysis of the everyday life of a culture or sub culture. Laurie Taylor is joined by three of the judges: Professor Beverley Skeggs, Professor Adam Kuper and Dr Coretta Phillips. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Apr 15, 2015
Free Will Explored
Free will explored. Laurie Taylor talks to Julian Baggini, writer and Founding Editor of The Philosophers' Magazine, about his latest work which considers the concept of freedom. He argues against the idea that free will is an illusion due to a combination of genes, environment and personal history. Instead he posits a sliding scale of freedom which allows for the possibility of individual agency and responsibility. Also, pets as family: Nickie Charles, Professor and Director of the Centre for the Study of Women and Gender at Warwick University, discusses her study of kinship across the species barrier. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Apr 08, 2015
Citizenship Ceremonies; Family Ties and Genetics
Making citizens: how countries make public rituals out of endowing new citizens with citizenship. Laurie Taylor talks to Bridget Byrne, Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Manchester, about her in-depth comparative study of citizenship ceremonies. In a mobile, transnational world passports and rights matter now more than ever. So how do states draw and establish the boundaries of citizenship? Using empirical research in the UK, the United States, Canada, Australia, the Netherlands, and Ireland, Dr Byrne roots contemporary concepts of national belonging in colonial history. Family ties in genes and stories: Janice McLaughlin, Professor of Sociology at Newcastle University, discusses her study of families referred to a paediatric genetic service. An increasing number of children are referred for genetic investigation due to physical & learning difficulties. This study found that the clinical discussions which ensue bring family histories to the fore in surprising and unpredictable ways. Sociologists have long recognised the importance of narrative to forming and maintaining family ties. But how are such stories altered as a result of geneticists' involvement in family relations? Which stories can and can't be told? Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Apr 01, 2015
Global Clothing and Poverty; Fur Inheritance in Poland
Jeans on a journey: Laurie Taylor talks to Andrew Brooks, Lecturer in Development Geography at Kings College London, about his study of the hidden world of fast fashion and second hand clothes. Following a pair of jeans in an around-the-world tour, this research reveals the commodity chains which perpetuate poverty - from Mozambican markets to London's vintage clothing scene. Fur, family and inheritance. Siobhan Magee, Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Edinburgh, discusses her research into the convention of passing down fur clothes from grandmother to granddaughter in the Polish middle class. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Mar 25, 2015
Love, Money and HIV in Kenya, Microbreweries
Love, Money and HIV in Kenya. Laurie Taylor talks to Sanyu Mojola, Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Colorado, and author of a study exploring how modern women in developing countries experience sexuality and love. Drawing on a rich variety of interview, ethnographic and survey data from her native country of Kenya, she examines how young African women, who suffer disproportionate rates of HIV infection compared to young African men, navigate their relationships, schooling, employment and financial access in the context of a devastating HIV epidemic and economic inequality. Also, Thomas Thurnell-Read, Lecturer in Sociology at Coventry University, discusses his study of microbreweries and the revival of traditional beer in the UK. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Mar 18, 2015
Biologising Parenthood - A Lost Avant-Garde,
A lost avant garde: Laurie Taylor examines the tension between art & money in the contemporary art museum. He talks to Matti Bunzl, Professor of Anthropology at the University of Illinois, and author of a study which takes a rare look behind the scenes of Chicago's Museum of Contemporary Art. He found that a commitment to new and difficult work came into conflict with an imperative for growth, leading to an excessive focus on the entertaining and profitable. Also, biologising parenthood: recent years have seen claims about children's brains becoming central to child health & welfare policies. Pam Lowe, Senior Lecturer in Sociology at Aston University, Birmingham, argues that this has led to a simplistic construction of the child and one which claims parenting to be the main factor in child development. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Mar 11, 2015
Commercial Surrogacy in India, Money
Wombs for Sale: commercial surrogacy in India & beyond. Couples from all over the world can now hire Indian women to bear their children for a fraction of the cost of surrogacy elsewhere. Laurie Taylor talks to Amrita Pande, Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Cape Town, and author of a detailed study into a burgeoning business which has little or no government regulation. She talked to surrogates, their families, clients, doctors and brokers to capture the full mechanics of a labour regime rooted in global gender & economic inequality. They're joined by Michal Nahman, Senior Lecturer in Anthropology at the University of the West of England, who has studied reproductive tourism. Also, the transformation of money in the post crisis world. Nigel Dodd, Professor of Sociology at the London School of Economics and Political Science, highlights the proliferation of new forms and systems of money, from local currencies and social lending to mobile money and Bitcoin. Why has our understanding of money failed to keep pace with these changes? Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Mar 04, 2015
The British in South Africa - Romanian Economic Migrants in London
Migration: the complexities of transnational movement, identity and belonging. Laurie Taylor explores migration in contrasting contexts. He talks to Daniel Briggs, Professor of Criminology at the Universidad Europea, Madrid, about his study of Romanian economic migrants in Britain. Leaving behind the debt and corruption of their home in life in the hope of finding something better, what kinds of lives do they end up living in the UK? Also, Daniel Conway, Lecturer in Politics & International Studies at the Open University, discusses his research into the lives, histories and identities of white British-born immigrants in South Africa, twenty years after the post-apartheid Government took office. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Feb 25, 2015
Conservatism, Emotional Labour in a Care Home
Conservatism: Roger Scruton, Professor of Philosophy at Birkbeck College, London, talks to Laurie Taylor, about the intellectual roots of Conservative values and ideology. Also, the emotional labour of care workers in a private residential care home. Eleanor Johnson, Researcher in Social Sciences at the University of Cardiff, talks about her case study of carer's practical and emotional work. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Feb 18, 2015
Harvard Business School – The Construction of Pain
Harvard Business School: Laurie Taylor takes a journey through the complex moral world of what many call the West Point of American Capitalism. Michel Anteby, Associate Professor at Harvard Business School, describes his research into the inner workings, mores and rituals of this highly influential institution.They're joined by Professor Ken Starkey from the Nottingham University Business School. Also, a cultural history of pain with Dr Louise Hide, Honorary Research Fellow in the Department of History, Classics and Archaeology at Birkbeck. University of London. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Feb 11, 2015
Inside the Muslim Brotherhood
Inside the Muslim Brotherhood - The first in-depth study of the relationship between the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood and its own members. Laurie talks to Hazem Kandil, Lecturer in Political Sociology at Cambridge University, about his intimate portrayal of the organisation's recruitment, socialisation and ideology. Privately educated girls - a 3 year study of 91 young women at 4 independent schools. Claire Maxwell, Reader in Sociology of Education at the Institute of Education, finds that an elite education doesn't always guarantee class privilege. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Feb 04, 2015
Social Stigma and Negative Labels - Migraine
Migraine: a cultural history. How did a painful and disabling disorder come to be seen as a symptom of femininity? Laurie Taylor talks to Joanna Kempner, Assistant Professor of Sociology at Rutgers University, about her research into the gendered values which feed into our understanding of pain. Also, 'chavs' and 'pramfaces': Anoop Nayak, Professor in Social and Cultural Geography at Newcastle University, discusses a study into how marginalised young men and women resist the social stigma attached to negative labels. He's joined by Helen Wood, Professor of Media and Communication at the University of Leicester. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Jan 28, 2015
Tribute to Ulrich Beck (1944 - 2015) - Dissident Irish Republicanism
Dissident Irish Republicanism - Laurie Taylor talks to John Morrison, Senior Lecturer in Criminology at the University of East London, about his in depth study into the recent intensification of rogue paramilitary activity, Can the upsurge in dissident Republican violence be explained by the history of splits within the Movement? He charts the rise of groups including the Real IRA, Continuity IRA and the newly emerging 'New IRA.' He's joined by Henry Mcdonald, Belfast correspondent at the Observer newspaper. Ulrich Beck - Angela McRobbie, Professor of Communications at Goldsmiths, University of London, gives a tribute to the eminent German sociologist who died earlier this month. What do his ideas about the 'risk society' tell us about current concerns relating to global terrorism? Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Jan 21, 2015
Living Apart Relationships - Grading Universities
Grading universities - The rights and wrongs of the Research Excellence Framework. The REF is the most recent in a series of national assessments of research in British universities. But how reliable and fair are these assessments? Do they give the taxpayer value for money, as is hoped by their advocates? And will they lead to the best and most innovative research in the future? Laurie Taylor asks the questions. He's joined by the former Minister for Higher Education and Conservative MP, David Willets, and by Derek Sayer, Professor of History at the University of Lancaster and author of a recent book which argues that the REF isn't fit for purpose. Also, living apart together. Sasha Roseneil, co-author of a Europe wide study, examines why a growing number of couples choose to live separately. Producer: Torquil Macleod.
Jan 14, 2015
War Games - Riding the Subway
The militarisation of every day life. Joanna Bourke, Professor of History at Birkbeck, University of London, talks to Laurie about the multiple ways in which military violence and war play invade our current lives, pervading language and entertainment. Are we irrevocably 'wounding the world'? Also, Richard Ocejo, Assistant Professor of Sociology at the City University of New York, takes us on a mystery ride with teenage New Yorkers, showing the diverse ways in which people experience being strangers in public space. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Jan 07, 2015
Self-help and Self-improvement
Self-help & self-improvement. As thoughts turn to resolutions and making a fresh start in 2015, Laurie Taylor wonders if his scepticism about self-help books and self-improvement programmes is well founded. He goes for advice to Christine Whelan - Professor in the School of Human Ecology at the University of Wisconsin and a self-help author. Further enlightenment is provided by Meg John Barker - Senior Lecturer in Psychology at the Open University - who has studied self-help literature dealing with sex and relationships and has also written what she describes as 'an anti self-help book'. And Rebecca Coleman - Senior Lecturer in Sociology at Goldsmiths, University of London - explains how TV makeover shows and online dieting sites create powerfully gendered and class-based messages about changing our bodies. Producer: Torquil MacLeod.
Dec 31, 2014
Rituals at Christmas
Customs at Christmas and beyond. It may be best not to invite a sociologist for Xmas - they're liable to spend their time chronicling, even questioning your seasonal rituals. In this festive programme, Laurie Taylor looks at the ever shifting nature of our habits, practices and customs; changes in our lives which have been detected and discussed in previous editions of Thinking Allowed. Is our concept of romantic love as timeless as we often presume? How did bathrooms evolve from luxurious Victorian rooms to classless and clinical spaces? Do contemporary constructions of sophisticated drinking downplay the risks of middle class alcohol consumption? In what ways has the elevator changed the status associated with the top and bottom floors of homes and buildings? And when did consumerism cease to be about the satisfaction of mere wants as opposed to the indulgence of hedonistic pleasures? Thinking Allowed subjects the trivial, the everyday and the taken for granted to entertaining sociological scrutiny. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Dec 25, 2014
Butchers; Fat Gay Men
Fat gay men: Laurie Taylor examines a world in which men are doubly stigmatised - for their weight as well as their sexuality. Jason Whitesel, an Assistant Professor in Women's and Gender Studies at Pace University in the US, discusses a study which illuminates how such men negotiate and fight back against a gay culture which places them in an inferior and stigmatised position in the 'attractiveness' hierarchy.They're joined by Paul Simpson, a Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Manchester, who has researched the marginality of older gay men on the gay 'scene'. Also, the masculine world of the butchers. Dr Natasha Slutskaya, lecturer of Organization Studies at Brunel Business School, discusses a study into the values and meanings butchers ascribe to the 'dirty work' of meat production and sale. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Dec 17, 2014
After Redundancy - Global Payday Lending
Global payday loans: Laurie Taylor talks to Carl Packman, a researcher and writer, who has analysed the growth of a worldwide industry. Today there are more payday lender shops in the US than McDonald's restaurants. They cater mainly to those without access to mainstream credit and with no other option. But how did they evolve and proliferate? And what is their impact on the most financially vulnerable consumers? He's joined by Johnna Montogomery, an economist from Goldsmiths, London. Also, redundancy at a Welsh aluminium plant. Tony Dobbins, Reader in Employment Studies at Bangor Business School, asks why re-training has failed to provide jobless workers with a fresh future. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Dec 10, 2014
Port Cities; Middle Class Alcohol Use
Port cities in the global age; from Marseilles to Liverpool and New Orleans. Laurie Taylor talks to Alice Mah, a sociologist at the University of Warwick, about her study of transformation along city waterfronts. What happens when world harbours are relegated to minor seaports? Can they ever return to their former greatness? Also, middle class alcohol use often exceeds safe levels but little research explains why. Lyn Brierley-Jones, a Research Fellow at the University of Sunderland, explores the meaning of drinking amongst professional workers. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Dec 03, 2014
Creative Britain - Sexology
Creative Britain: Laurie Taylor explores its rise and fall with the British historian, Robert Hewison, who provides an assessment of the cultural policies of New Labour and the Coalition. Why has culture failed to escape class? Also, a new Sexology exhibition prompts an analysis of the changing field of sex research. Kaye Wellings, Professor of Sexual & Reproductive Health Research at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, charts a history involving book burning, scandal and shame. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Nov 26, 2014
Shoes - Islamic Youth Culture in Western Europe
Shoes - a journey through our lives and identities. From 'brothel creepers' to perilous stilettos, our choice of footwear changes and evolves over a life time. Laurie Taylor talks to Victoria Robinson, Reader in Sociology at the University of Sheffield, about the ways in which shoes can, variously, plunge us back into the past or inform the present. Whether worn for comfort or glamour, they are powerful indicators of taste and identity. Also, Maruta Herding, a sociologist at the German Youth Institute, discusses her Europe wide research into Muslim youth, subcultures. She's joined by Tufyal Choudhury lecturer in law at the University of Durham. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Nov 19, 2014
Meritocracy; Desert Island Doctors
Meritocracy, then and now. Laurie Taylor talks to Peter Hennessy, Attlee professor of contemporary British history at Queen Mary, University of London. How did meritocracy arise as a concept and has it ever been realised in practice given the persistence of notions of a British Establishment with control over access to the centres of power? They are joined by Danny Dorling, professor of Geography at the University of Oxford. Also, doctors' choice of desert island discs - what do they tell us about the possession of cultural capital? Ruth McDonald, professor of health science research at Manchester University, discusses the meaning of elite musical tastes. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Nov 12, 2014
'Lad culture' in higher education - Fugitives from the law in Philadelphia
Fugitives from the law: Laurie Taylor talks to Alice Goffman, Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, about 'On the Run' her study of the lives of African American men caught up in webs of criminality in Philadelphia. She spent six years living in a neighbourhood marked by pervasive policing, violence and poverty. She argues that high tech surveillance and arrest quotas have done little to reduce crime or support young lives in the most disadvantaged parts of the US. They're joined by Professor Dick Hobbs, Criminologist at the University of Essex. Also, Alison Phipps, Director of the Centre for Gender Studies at the University of Sussex, explores the rise of 'lad culture' in Higher Education and its relationship to the 'marketisation' of learning. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Nov 05, 2014
Post-Dictatorship Art in Argentina; Young Jazz Musicians in London
Post dictatorship art in Argentina and beyond. Laurie Taylor talks to Vikki Bell, Professor of Sociology at Goldsmiths College, about the role of the arts in a society's journey to democracy. Whilst scholars of transitional justice tend to focus on the courts and the streets; this study asks how culture enables a country marked by state oppression to both mark, as well as transcend, its past. They're joined by Professor Sanja Bahun from the Department of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies at the University of Essex. Also, Charles Umney, Senior Lecturer in Human Resources and Organisational Behaviour at the University Of Greenwich, talks about the 'creative labour' of jazz musicians in London. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Oct 29, 2014
Junk Food Traders in Secondary Schools; Darjeeling Tea Workers
Tea workers in Darjeeling. Laurie Taylor talks to Sarah Besky, Assistant Professor in Anthropology at the University of Michigan, about her study of the tough lives of tea plantation workers, and the struggle to re-make one of the world's most expensive teas for the 21st century consumer. Also, the sociologist, Adam Fletcher, discusses an emerging underground trade in junk food at English secondary schools. Is this an unforeseen result of 'healthy food' policies?
Oct 22, 2014
Drug Mules; 'Dads Only' Parenting Project
Drug Mules - Laurie Taylor talks to Jennifer Fleetwood, Lecturer in Criminology at the University of Leicester, about her study of women in the international cocaine trade. Drawing on 'in depth' interviews with female traffickers imprisoned in Ecuador, she uncovered narratives which went beyond the stock dichotomy of helpless 'victims' versus confident 'agents'. Also, a 'dads only' parenting project. Alan Dolan, Associate Professor in the Warwick Medical School at the University of Warwick, considers how learning to be a good father can clash with ideals of masculinity as well as traditional notions of fathering. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Oct 15, 2014
Dementia Handbags; Place Hacking
Place hacking the hidden city. Laurie Taylor talks to Bradley Garrett, Lecturer in Geography and Environment at the University of Southampton, about his research into the world of urban exploration. Bridges, sewerage and underground rail systems are just a few of the sites penetrated by crews of place hackers who want to journey beyond the boundaries of everyday metropolitan life. They are joined by writer and film maker Iain Sinclair whose work also involves uncovering unseen layers of the city. Also, Julia Twigg, Professor of Social Policy and Sociology at the University of Kent, discusses the role of handbags in the lives of women with dementia. How do they function as memory objects and sources of identity, particularly in the transition to care homes? Producer: Torquil MacLeod.
Oct 08, 2014
Gaybourhood and City Life
Gay life at home and in the 'city' - a special edition of Thinking Allowed presented by Laurie Taylor. From squatted terraces to rented bedsits, the social historian, Matt Cook, explores the domestic and family lives of gay men - the famous, infamous and unknown - in London over the past century. The social anthropologist, Rachael Scicluna, charts the changing domestic lives of metropolitan lesbians. And US sociologist, Amin Ghaziani, describes the way in which urban enclaves such as Greenwich Village in New York have long provided sexual minorities with a safe haven in an unsafe world. How have gentrification, as well as increasing social acceptance and legal rights, impacted on the existence of gay neighbourhoods? And do lesbian and gay home lives now mirror those of heterosexuals rather than offering alternative models of domesticity, family and belonging? Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Aug 06, 2014
Non-Networking Graduates; Race and Consumption
Race & consumption - Laurie Taylor talks to Ben Pitcher, Senior Lecturer at the University of Westminster, about the ways in which racial meaning is produced in everyday acts of consumption. From the depiction of 'red Indians' by children's authors to the wearing of Bob Marley T shirts and the enthusiasm for 'ethnic' street food; our ideas of race are made and re-made across the terrain of contemporary culture. They're joined by Lola Young, Crossbench Peer and former Professor of Cultural Studies at the University of Middlesex. Also, Jessica Abrahams, graduate student at the University of Cardiff, explores working class students' refusal to use networks and contacts as a route to career advancement. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Jul 30, 2014
Dalit Parties and Democratisation in Tamil Nadu; History of the Elevator
Elevators - a cultural history. Before skyscrapers transformed the urban landscape a new conveyance made them possible. The elevator, invented in New York in the 1850s, became a factor of metropolitan modernity on both sides of the Atlantic - forever in motion and reflecting the intimacy, as well as the anonymity, of capitalist cities. Laurie Taylor talks to Andreas Bernard, Visiting Professor of Cultural Studies at Leuphana University of Luneburg, and author a of new book which explores the origins & meaning of the 'lift'. Also, Hugo Gorringe, Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Edinburgh, discusses his study of political militants in India who move into mainstream electoral politics. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Jul 23, 2014
Rio, Protests and the World Cup; Dying in Prison
Rio, protests and the World Cup. Laurie Taylor talks to Jessica Leigh Glass, graduate student in the Department of Anthropology at Georgia State University, about her research into the street protests taking place in Rio since June 2013. Initially arising in reaction to a hike in public transport fares, the protests broadened to target wider social inequalities, expenditure on multi-million dollar projects ahead of the 2014 World Cup & the 2016 Olympics and the clearing of some favelas. What is the impact of such sporting 'mega-events' on the people who live in the host cities.? They're joined by Professor Anthony King from the University of Exeter. Also, men dying in prison. Marian Peacock, Senior Research Associate in the Faculty of Health and Medicine at Lancaster University, discusses the increasing number of elderly men - many of whom are sex offenders - who may end their lives in jail. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Jul 16, 2014
A History of Tennis, Talking Treatments
Tennis: From Victorian Pastime to Global Phenomenon. Laurie Taylor talks to life long tennis fan and cultural historian, Elizabeth Wilson. The story of tennis illuminates social change and struggle across the 20th century, going hand in hand with the march of modernity, globalisation, commercialisation and gender equality. Also, Daniel Holman, a post doctoral researcher at the University of Cambridge, discusses class differences in the use of 'talking treatments' for mental health problems with Stephen Frosh, Professor of Psychology at Birkbeck College. Why are these treatments so underused by working class people? Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Jul 09, 2014
Russia's upper class, Flip Flops
Flip flops: the world wide trail of an everyday commodity. Laurie Taylor talks to Caroline Knowles, Professor of Sociology at Goldsmiths, University of London, whose study takes a ground level view of the lives and places of globalisation's back roads, via that most ubiquitous of footwear - the flip flop sandal. Also, research into Russia's elite and how they acquire social distinction. Dr Elisabeth Schimpfossl, Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Manchester, looks at the strategies employed by representatives of Russia's new social upper class to gain status and prestige. Distancing themselves from the 'vulgar' excesses of the brutal 90s, they've moved away from ostentatious displays of wealth, seeking legitimacy for their position by developing a more 'cultured' image. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Jul 02, 2014
History of Surfing; Coffee Shops and Idleness
Surfing - a political history. Laurie Taylor looks beyond the tanned bodies, crashing waves and carefree pleasure, talking to Scott Laderman, Associate Professor of History at the University of Minnesota. His study traces the rise of surfing in the context of the rise of imperialism and global capitalism. From its emergence in post annexation Hawaii and its use as a diplomatic weapon in America's Cold War to the low wage labour of the surf industry today; he uncovers a hidden history involving as much blood and repression as beachside bliss. Also, Pelle Valentin Olsen, graduate student at the University of Oxford, explores the Baghdad coffee shop, idleness and the emergence of the bourgeoisie. He's joined by Graham Scambler, Emiritus Professor of Sociology at University College, London. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Jun 25, 2014
Late-Modern Hipsters - Before the Windrush
Before the Windrush - Laurie Taylor talks to John Belchem, Professor of History at the University of Liverpool, about his study of race relations in 20th century Liverpool. Long before the arrival of the Empire Windrush after the Second World War, the city was already a teeming mix of different nationalities and races. Black Liverpudlians pioneered mixed marriages and parentage but they also experienced rejection and discrimination. Nisha Katona, city born resident and trustee of National Museums Liverpool, joins the debate. Also, Bjorn Andersen, a sociologist at the University of Gothenburg, discusses the phenomenon of the late modern 'hipster', the young bohemian of the cosmopolitan city. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Jun 18, 2014
Masculinity and betting shops; 'New' biological relatives and kinship
IVF - it's 35 years years since the initial success of a form of technologically assisted human reproduction which has led to the birth of 5 million 'miracle' babies. Laurie Taylor talks to Sarah Franklin, Professor in Sociology at the University of Cambridge, about her study into the meaning and impact of IVF. Has the creation of new biological relatives transformed our notion of kinship? They're joined by Henrietta Moore, Professor of Social Anthropology at the University of Cambridge. Also, the male space of the 'bookies'. Betting on horses and dogs has long been seen as a male pastime and the betting shop as a 'man's world'. Rebecca Cassidy, Professor of Social Anthropology at Goldsmiths at the University of London, asks why this should be, interviewing both workers and customers in London betting shops. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Jun 11, 2014
Make-up in Iran; Offshoring
Offshoring - the economy of secrecy. The concealment of wealth in tax havens is part of public debate, but John Urry, Professor of Sociology at Lancaster University, argues that offshore worlds now also involve relations of work, pleasure, energy and security. He talks to Laurie Taylor about new patterns of power which pose huge challenges to democratic government. Also, Dr Aliakbar Jafari, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Marketing at the University of Strathclyde, discusses his research on Iranian women's use of make up, as a form of escape and self expression. He's joined by Dr Ziba Mir Hosseini, Professorial Research Associate at the Centre of Islamic and Middle Eastern Law at the School for Oriental and African Studies at the University of London. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Jun 04, 2014
Gender Inequality in China; Smokestack Nostalgia
Chinese women & the resurgence of gender inequality. Laurie Taylor talks to Leta Hong Fincher, about 'Leftover Women', her study of the pressures facing Modern Chinese women who are often locked out of social equality, property rights, and legal protection from domestic abuse. Also, 'smokestack nostalgia' - the meaning of post-industrial imagery. Tim Stangleman, Professor of Sociology at the University of Kent, questions the continuing desire to reflect back and find value in our industrial past. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
May 28, 2014
Islamophobia and Anti-Semitism; Sociology of Sleep
Islamophobia and Anti-Semitism - similarities and differences. Comparisons of anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim sentiment are strikingly absent in British accounts of race and racism. Laurie Taylor talks to Nasar Meer, Reader in Comparative Social Policy at Strathclyde University, about a new study which attempts to remedy this omission. They're joined by Rumy Hasan, Senior Lecturer at the Sussex Centre for Migration Research at the University of Sussex. Also, the sociology of 'sleep'. How does sleep fit into our wired awake world? Catherine Coveney, Senior Research Fellow at the University of Warwick, explores the sleeping experiences & strategies of shift workers and students. Producer: Torquil MacLeod.
May 21, 2014
'Illicit' Dance; The Purpose of War
'Illicit' dance in India. Laurie Taylor talks to Anna Morcom, Senior Lecturer at Royal Holloway, University of London, about her extensive research into marginalised dancers in contemporary South Asia. From bar dancers to transgender erotic performers, she has chronicled their relationship with 'legitimate' performing arts; their struggles against stigma and the ways in which post colonial nation building has excluded these 'non elite' carriers of culture. Also, can war ever be a force for good? The historian, Ian Morris, argues that war, as well as provoking countless deaths & horrors, has also, in the very long term, allowed us to create peaceful societies. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
May 14, 2014
Baristas; 'People' History
The rise & fall of the working class: Laurie Taylor talks to Selina Todd, social historian at St Hilda's College, Oxford, about her sweeping study of ordinary British people between 1910-2010. Rooting her analysis in first person accounts from factory workers, servants and housewives, she reveals a hidden history full of the unexpected: How many of us know that cinema audiences once shook their fists at Winston Churchill? Also, US sociologist, Yasemin Besen-Cassino, discusses her research on 'baristas', the preparers of coffee across the urban world. She finds a group of affluent young people who'll work for poor wages if they're associated with a 'cool' brand. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
May 07, 2014
Ethnography Award: The Winner
The winner of Thinking Allowed's first Ethnography award, in association with the British Sociological Association. Laurie Taylor and a team of esteemed academics - Professor Beverley Skeggs, Professor Dick Hobbs, Professor Henrietta Moore and Dr Louise Westmarland - set themselves the task of finding the study that has made the most significant contribution to ethnography over the past year. In the past, ethnographic studies have cast light on hidden or misunderstood worlds, from the urban poor in 1930s Chicago to the mods and rockers in British seaside towns in the 1950s. This year they considered submissions of startling range, colour and diversity, in the process learning much about the struggles of the war wounded 'amputees' of Sierra Leone; the ties between mothers and daughters on a working class housing estate in South Wales; the hedonistic excess of young holidaymakers in Ibiza; and the dreams and desires of young women in hostess bars in Cambodia. After much passionate debate, finally the winner can be revealed. Laurie Taylor presents a programme about the winning entry which, in the judges' view, has made the most significant contribution to ethnography, the in-depth analysis of the everyday life of a culture or sub culture. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Apr 30, 2014
The Ethnography Award 'Short List'
The Ethnography award 'short list': Thinking Allowed, in association with the British Sociological Association, presents a special programme devoted to the academic research which has been short listed for our new annual award for a study that has made a significant contribution to ethnography, the in-depth analysis of the everyday life of a culture or sub culture. Laurie Taylor is joined by three of the judges: Professor Beverley Skeggs, Professor Dick Hobbs and Dr Louise Westmarland. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Apr 23, 2014
British working class gardens - Why England fails (at football)
Gardens of the British Working Class - the historian, Margaret Willes, considers the remarkable feats of cultivation by the working class in Britain, even if the land they planted and loved was not their own: From lush gardens nurtured outside crumbling workers' cottages to 'green' miracles achieved in blackened yards. In doing so, she reveals the ingenious ways in which determined workers transformed drab surroundings. She's joined by Lisa Taylor, Senior Lecturer in Media and Cultural Studies at Leeds Metropolitan University, who has explored the ways in which struggles over classed and gendered tastes are played out in our gardens. Also, 'Why England Fails At Football' - a sociological account of our international 'shame' from Anthony King, Professor of Sociology at the University of Exeter Producer: Torquil Macleod.
Apr 16, 2014
The End of Capitalism; Reforming Capitalism
Capitalism - renewal or decline? Laurie Taylor explores the future of our market driven economy. He's joined by David Harvey, Distinguished Professor of Anthropology and Geography at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York and Colin Crouch, Professor Emeritus in Sociology at the University of Warwick. Professor Harvey examines the contradictions at the heart of capitalism arguing that it's far from being the permanent or only way of organising human life. Professor Crouch, conversely, suggests that only Capitalism can provide us with an efficient and innovative economy but it should be re-shaped to better fit a social democratic society. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Apr 09, 2014
Kissing; The British Hitman
Kissing - a cultural history. How do we make sense of the kiss and why did it become a vital sign of romance and courtship? Laurie Taylor talks to Marcel Danesi, Professor of Linguistic Anthropology about his new book 'The History of the Kiss' which argues that kissing was the first act of "free romance" liberated from the yoke of arranged unions. When the kiss first appeared in poetry and songs of the medieval period, it was as a desirable but forbidden act. Since then it has evolved into the quintessential symbol of love-making in the popular imagination. From early poems and paintings to current films, its romantic incarnation coincides with the birth of popular culture itself. They're joined by Karen Harvey, Reader in Cultural History at the University of Sheffield, who has studied the meaning of the kiss across different cultures and periods. Also, hitmen for hire: David Wilson, Professor of Criminology, examined 27 cases of contract killing committed by 36 men (including accomplices) and one woman. Far from involving shadowy, organised criminals, the reality of killing for cash turned out to be surprisingly mundane. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Apr 02, 2014
Poverty and 'Shame'; Small-Scale Technology in India
Poverty and 'Shame' - shame was once described as the 'irreducible core' of poverty by Nobel laureate, Amartya Sen. Laurie Taylor looks at new cross cultural research which examines the psycho-social consequences of being poor in countries as diverse as Britain, Pakistan and South Korea. Elaine Chase, Research Officer at the Department of Social Policy and Intervention at the University of Oxford, considers the way that shame and stigma have been experienced by British people receiving welfare aid throughout history. She found that feelings of unworthiness, guilt and shame were common. In the current day, her study found that poor people accepted that 'other peoples' poverty was the result of personal failures rather than structural factors. The only alibi for their present circumstances was to deflect blame on to the 'undeserving' poor. She's joined by Sohail Choudhry, Research Assistant, also at the University of Oxford, whose Pakistan based interviews offered a contrasting perspective. Pakistanis on the 'breadline' also felt shame, but were also more inclined to blame the government and the 'big guns' for their reduced state. Also, Professor of History, David Arnold, describes the impact of small scale technology on modern India. How the sewing machine, bicycle and typewriter reinvented every day life and work leading to new ways of thinking about the politics of colonial rule and Indian nationhood. Producer: Torquil Macleod.
Mar 26, 2014
Race in Police Disciplinaries; Protestant Fishermen in Scotland
Race in police 'misconduct' proceedings - Laurie Taylor considers new research exploring the perception that ethnic minority police officers are disproportionally subjected to such investigations. Graham Smith, Senior Lecturer at University of Manchester School of Law, looked at data provided by 3 English police services over a 4 year period between 2008 and 2011. Also, Evangelical Fishermen - the lives and beliefs of fundamentalist Christians living in a remote Scottish fishing village. Joseph Webster, Lecturer in Anthropology, Queen's University Belfast, discusses his study of an austere community of Protestant Brethren struggling with the crisis of the contemporary fishing industry whilst also focusing on the 'End of Days'. How does this most demanding form of religious faith survive in the midst of the tough and perilous work at sea? Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Mar 19, 2014
Post-Katrina New Orleans; The Capitalist Personality
Post-Katrina New Orleans: how disaster recovery became a lucrative business. Laurie Taylor talks to Vincanne Adams, US Professor of Medical Anthropology, about her account of market failure after the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. She discovered private companies profiting from the misery they sought to ameliorate and a second order disaster that intensified inequalities based on race and class. Why were residents left to re-build their lives and homes almost entirely on their own, save for the contribution of churches and charities? Phil O'Keefe, Professor of Economic Development, joins the discussion. Also, 'The Capitalist Personality' - Laurie Taylor explores interpersonal bonds in the post communist world. Christopher Swader, Assistant Professor of Sociology in Moscow, argues that successful people in countries as diverse as China and Russia adjust to the market economy at a social cost, compromising moral values in pursuit of material gain. Is anti social behaviour in new capitalist economies a by-product of their communist pasts or does the individual ambition released by economic development also have a part to play in threatening human relationships? Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Mar 12, 2014
Elite Graduates in France and UK; Surnames and Social Mobility
Surnames and social mobility - How much of our fate is tied to the status of our parents and grandparents? Laurie Taylor talks to Gregory Clark, Professor of Economics at the University of California, Davis, about movement up the social ladder over 8 centuries, from medieval England to modern Sweden. Using a unique methodology, Professor Clark tracked family names to assess social mobility across diverse eras and societies. His conclusion is that mobility rates are less than are often estimated and are resistant to social policies. It may take hundreds of years for descendants to move beyond inherited advantages, as well as disadvantages. He's joined by Andrew Miles, Reader in Sociology at the CRESC, University of Manchester and author of the only systematic study of historical social mobility in the UK. Also, elite graduates and global ambition. Sally Power, Professorial Fellow at the School of Social Sciences at Cardiff University, talks about a comparative study which finds that British students from top universities seek worldwide opportunities, whereas their French counterparts wish to 'serve' France. In theory, globalization has dissolved national borders and loyalties, so why do elite students from France and England have such strikingly different visions of their future? Producer: Torquil Macleod.
Mar 05, 2014
Generational Divide; Webcam
'Webcam' - the use of webcam, especially through Skype, has recently become established as one more standard media technology, but one with profound implications for many facets of human life, from self-consciousness and intimacy to the sustaining of long-distance relationships and the place of the visual within social communications. Daniel Miller, Professor of Anthropology at University College London, talks to Laurie Taylor about a study which took him from London to Trinidad. Also, the 'Generational' divide: Today's social problems are the problems of generations, according to much public debate. Terms such as the 'baby boomers' and the 'jilted generation' are a common feature of discussions about debts, access to higher education, housing or pensions. Jonathan White, Associate Professor of European Politics at the LSE, talks to Laurie Taylor about his sociological investigation of contemporary uses of the generational concept: where did this form of thinking originate and does it disguise more than it illuminates in terms of inequality in modern Britain? He's joined by Mary Dejevsky, Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Buckingham and the chief editorial writer at The Independent. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Feb 26, 2014
The Great Indoors
The Great Indoors. Laurie Taylor talks to cultural theorist Ben Highmore about his history of the family home in the 20th century and how houses display currents of class, identity and social transformation. Also, the evolution of the bathroom. Architectural historian Barbara Penner looks at that most intimate space in the home, and considers how it became an international symbol of key modern values, such as cleanliness, order and progress. Producer: Torquil MacLeod.
Feb 19, 2014
Stuart Hall (1932-2014)
In memory of Stuart Hall: a special programme paying tribute to the leading cultural theorist and former director of the Birmingham Centre for Cultural Studies. A pioneer of 'multiculturalism', he documented the changing character of 'post Imperial' British society. Laurie Taylor is joined by Caspar Melville, Lecturer in Global Creative and Cultural Industries at SOAS, Baroness Lola Young and Jeremy Gilbert, editor of the journal, New Formations. They explore Stuart Hall's life, influence and legacy. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Feb 12, 2014
Numbers in Global Politics; Gay Rights and Religion in Belfast
The power of 'numbers' in global politics: Laurie Taylor talks to the economist, Lorenzo Fioramonti, about the hidden agendas which may underpin the use of statistics, affecting the way we deal with poverty and sustainability. Numbers are at the heart of debates on the GDP which drives our economies and the credit ratings which steer financial markets. But what is behind these numbers? Also, pride and prejudice in Northern Ireland: The social anthropologist, Jennifer Curtis, discusses her research with Belfast's LGBT Pride Festival to explore religious groups' increasing support for gay rights since 2008. She's joined by Andrew McKinnon, an expert on the sociology of religion. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Feb 05, 2014
Prostitution in the Community; Drinking and Moderation
Prostitution in the community: The criminologist, Sarah Kingston, discusses her study of the impact of sex work on local residents and businesses. Policies restricting sex work are often based on assumptions about the alleged negative effects of commercial sex on everyday lives. This is the first comprehensive text to examine the empirical basis of this assumption. How do neighbourhoods react to the presence of prostitutes and male clients in their areas? Do stereotypes of stigma and deviance mean that residents will always wish to move this 'problem' elsewhere. Also, the sociologist, Henry Yeomans, charts the fluid, ever changing definitions of 'moderate' alcohol consumption. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Jan 29, 2014
Why Music Matters?; Bhangra and Belonging
Why Music Matters: David Hesmondhalgh, Professor of Music and Media Industries, examines the role of music in our lives and the ways in which it enriches people and society, or fails to do so. What is music's political and social significance beyond the pleasure it brings? He's joined by Caspar Melville, Lecturer in Global Creative and Cultural Industries. Also, 'Bhangra and Belonging': Falu Bakrania, US lecturer in Race and Resistance Studies, discusses her research into the social life of British Asian musical culture in the late 90s. From Bhangra to Asian underground, she talked to the male artists and female club goers. What impact did this musical explosion have on British Asian identity? Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Jan 22, 2014
Waiting in A&E; Faith and Doubt
Faith and doubt: an ethnographic study into political and spiritual convictions in an age of uncertainty. Laurie Taylor talks to the Lecturer in Anthropology, Dr Mathijs Pelkmans, about wide ranging research which suggests that the foundations of religious and secular 'faiths' are surprisingly fragile. Drawing on a diverse range of cases, from spirit mediums in Taiwan to right-wing populists in Europe, he analyses the ways that belief systems are either sustained or collapse. He's joined by Alpa Shah who has studied Maoists revolutionaries in India. Also, Alexandra Hillman discusses her new paper on 'waiting' in hospital emergency departments. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Jan 15, 2014
Sensory Multiculturalism in an East End Market; Cultural Passions
Cultural passions - From a love of Proust to an enthusiasm for tennis and tarot readings; a diverse range of aesthetic pleasures excite human beings. Laurie Taylor talks to the cultural theorist and writer, Elizabeth Wilson, about the emotional commitment people bring to their enjoyment of both 'high' and 'low' culture. Professor Wilson analyses why such pleasures are sometimes seen as suspect; invoking, by turns, a fear of elitism as well a dislike of mass culture. Also, the sociologist, Alex Rhys-Taylor, charts a sensory journey into the heart of an East End Market. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Jan 08, 2014
A Thinking Allowed special on 'love'. What are the origins of our notions of high romantic love? Was the post war period a 'golden age' for lifelong love? Has marriage for love now failed? Laurie Taylor hopes to finds some answers with the help of the social historian, Claire Langhamer, the philosopher, Pascal Bruckner, and the sociologist, Professor Mary Evans. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Jan 01, 2014
Santa Helpers; Christmas Tradition
A Thinking Allowed special on our construction of Christmas tradition. What does Christmas mean to you - a visit to Santa's grotto with the little ones, the opening of presents before breakfast, a house festooned with sparkly lights and wreaths of ivy? Or is your Christmas an understated and low key affair? Perhaps you don't even recognise it for cultural or religious reasons. Professor Philip Hancock discusses his study into the 'elite' squad of Santa helpers who dispense seasonal cheer and gifts to children in department stores up and down the country. How do they maintain their 'ho, ho hos' in the face of 500 length queues? What special challenges does this unique branch of interactive service work present? Also, Professor Jennifer Mason talks about her research into how people create the Christmas experience, drawing on the rituals of their childhoods and negotiating conflicting traditions. The writer, Antony Lerman, joins the discussion. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Dec 25, 2013
Couples and Chronic Illness; Fashion and Dress in Later Life
Fashion and dress in later life: Laurie Taylor talks to the sociologist, Julia Twigg, about her study into the links between clothing and age. Throughout history certain forms and styles of dress have been deemed appropriate for people as they get older. Older women, in particular, have been advised to dress in toned down, covered up styles. Drawing on fashion theory and cultural gerontology, Professor Twigg interviewed older women, fashion editors, clothing designers and retailers. She asks if the emergence of a 'grey market' is finally shifting cultural norms and trends. The broadcaster, writer and fashion enthusiast, Robert Elms, joins the discussion. Also, Research Student, Eloise Radcliffe, discusses her study into how couples cope when one develops a chronic illness. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Dec 18, 2013
Pocket Calculator in Papua New Guinea; Chicago
The Great American City - US Professor of Social Sciences, Robert J Sampson, discusses his landmark research project with Laurie Taylor. Following in the influential tradition of the Chicago School of urban studies, but updating it for the twenty-first century, he argues that communities do still matter because life is decisively shaped by where we live. Neighbourhoods influences a wide variety of phenomena including teen births, altruism and crime. Not even national crisis can destroy the enduring impact of place. Also, the anthropologist, Anthony Pickles, reveals the significance of pockets for controlling money in Highland Papua New Guinea. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Dec 11, 2013
Tooth Loss; Communist Utopia in a Spanish Village
Communist 'utopia' in a Spanish village. Laurie Taylor talks to the writer, Dan Hancox, about his research into a tiny community in Andalucia which set out to create an egalitarian enclave after the demise of General Franco. Does the reality match the dream? They're joined by the social geographer, Helen Jarvis. Also, the health researcher, Nicolette Rousseau, discusses the experience and meaning of tooth loss and replacement. Producer:Jayne Egerton.
Dec 04, 2013
Boxing in Gleason's Gym; Sport and Capitalism
Sport and capitalism: Laurie Taylor talks to Professor of History, Tony Collins, about his new book which argues that modern sport is as much a product of our economic system as the factory, the stock exchange and the unemployment line. Also, The US sociologist, Lucia Trimbur, invites us into the everyday world of Gleason's gym, the last remaining institution of New York's golden age of boxing. Once the domain of white and black working class men, it's now shared with women as well as the wealthy.
Nov 27, 2013
The Poppy; Traveller Children in Schools
The Poppy - a cultural history. Laurie Taylor talks to renowned archaeologist and anthropologist, Nicholas Saunders, about his account of the origins, history and many meanings of the Remembrance Day Poppy. From ancient Egypt to Flanders Field to Afghanistan. How did a humble flower of the field become a worldwide icon? They're joined by Professor of History, Joanna Bourke. Also, Reader in Education, Kalwant Bhopal, discusses her research into the experience of traveller children in schools. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Nov 20, 2013
Work and Consumption; Neo-liberal Economics
The truimph of Neoliberal economics in the post Recession world. Laurie Taylor talks to US Professor of Economics, Philip Mirowski, about his analysis of why neoliberalism survived, and even prospered, in the aftermath of the financial meltdown of 2008. Although it was widely asserted that the economic convictions behind the disaster would be consigned to history, Mirowski says that the opposite is the case. He claims that once neoliberalism became a Theory of Everything, providing a revolutionary account of self, knowledge, markets, and government, it was impossible to falsify by data from the 'real' economy. Neoliberalism, he suggests, wasn't dislodged by the recession because we have internalised its messages. Have we all, in a sense, become neoliberals, inhabiting "entrepreneurial" selves which compel us to position ourselves in the market and rebrand ourselves daily? Also, why do work almost as hard as we did 40 years ago, despite being on average twice as rich? Robert Skidelsky, Emeritus Professor of Political Economy, suggests an escape from the work and consumption treadmill. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Nov 13, 2013
Richard Hoggart; The Anti-Social Family
Richard Hoggart: Laurie Taylor talks to Professor of Cultural Studies, Fred Inglis, about his biography of this leading cultural commentator and academic. Hoggart's 1957 book 'The Uses of Literacy' documented the lives and hardships of the life of the poor in pre-World War Britain as well as providing an account of the transition from working class to 'mass' culture in the post War period. Inglis considers some of Hoggart's key ideas including his emphasis on working class community and family life as a source of support and sanctuary. Also, the sociology of the family, then and now. Hoggart's views about the family form part of an ongoing sociological debate to which the late Mary McIntosh made a major contribution. Professor of Sociology, Carol Smart, pays tribute to her classic 1982 book 'The Anti Social Family' which offered a socialist and feminist critique of the traditional nuclear family, arguing that it was as often a site of inequality and conflict as of refuge, particularly for women. Deborah Chambers, Professor of Media and Cultural Studies, joins the debate. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Nov 06, 2013
Sex Workers and International Migration; Poverty in Britain
'Low pay, no pay' Britain. Laurie Taylor talks to the sociologist, Tracy Shildrick, about her prize winning study of individuals and families who are living in or near poverty. The research was conducted in Teesside, North East England, and focuses on the men and women who've fallen out of old working class communities and must now cope with drastically reduced opportunities for standard employment. Also, the US sociologist, Kimberly Kay Hoang, discusses her study into Vietnamese sex workers who've become American wives who, contrary to their hopeful expectations, end up as primary breadwinners in their new country. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Oct 30, 2013
Muslim Fundamentalism; Customer Abuse to Service Workers
Muslims against Muslim Fundamentalism - Laurie Taylor talks to Karima Bennoune, US Professor of Law and author of a groundbreaking book which addresses resistance to religious extremism in Muslim majority contexts. Over a 3 year period, she interviewed nearly 300 people from almost 30 countries, from Afghanistan to Mali, Egypt, Israel/Palestine, Niger and Russia.They include teachers, journalists, doctors, musicians, street vendors and women's rights activists - some of whom have risked death. Her subjects range from the secular to the devout, yet all share a desire to challenge religion inspired violence and oppression. She's joined by Professor Stephen Vertigans, a sociologist who has studied Islamic movements globally. Also, Marek Korczynski discusses his research into the abuse of service workers by customers. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Oct 23, 2013
Section 136 and Mental Health Act; BBC World Service
Laurie Taylor explores The World Service, talking to Marie Gillespie about her study into the role of the diasporic broadcasters at the heart of the BBC's foreign service. Even though the Service has derived much of its creative and diplomatic significance from these men and women, they've been largely absent from academic work and public debate. Professor Gillespie's work brings to light the invisible writers and intellectuals who've been responsible for the BBC's credibility as an international broadcaster. She's joined by Ramy Aly, a Middle Eastern scholar who has studied the BBC Arabic Service, in particular. Also, who decides when someone is a danger to themselves or others? Professor Gillian Bendelow discusses her research into the use of section 136 of the Mental Health Act 1983. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Oct 16, 2013
Twitter; Elite University Admissions
TWITTER - Laurie Taylor talks to the sociologist, Dhiraj Murthy, about his new book 'Twitter: Social Communication in the Twitter Age'. This form of social media is now a household name, discussed for its role in political movements, national elections and natural disasters. But what's the real significance of this 'electronically diminished turn to terseness' as Murphy describes it? Using case studies including citizen journalism and health, his groundbreaking study deciphers the ways in which Twitter is re-making contemporary life.Also, elite university admissions. Harvard Professor of Education, Natasha Kumar Warikoo, discusses her research into the perceptions of meritocracy and inequality among undergraduates at Oxford University - part of a wider study of students at the highest ranking universities in the United States and Britain.Given the frequent critiques of such universities for admitting low numbers of state school graduates and, more recently, British Afro-Caribbean students, how do their students make meaning of the admissions process? Melissa Benn, writer and education campaigner joins the discussion.Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Oct 09, 2013
Backpacking food tourist; Touring poverty
Slum Tourism - the transformation of impoverished neighbourhoods into attractions for international tourists. Laurie Taylor talks to the sociologist, Bianca Freire-Medeiros, about 'Touring Poverty', her study of Rocinha, a district in Rio de Janeiro which is advertised as "the largest favela in Latin America." She talked to tour operators, guides, tourists and residents to explore the ethical and political questions raised by selling a glimpse into other peoples' poverty. Professor of Tourism Mobilities, Kevin Hannam, joins the discussion. Also, 'eating the world' - the geographer, Emily Falconer, discusses her research into the food driven impulses of backpacking tourists.Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Oct 02, 2013
Noodle narratives; British men dancing Capoeira
Noodle narratives - Laurie Taylor talks to US anthropologist, Deborah Gewertz, about the invention, production and consumption of instant ramen noodles. From their origins in Japan to their worldwide spread to markets as diverse as the USA and Papua New Guinea. As popular with the affluent as with the poor, they enable diverse populations to manage their lives. So how did noodles become one of the industrial food system's most successful achievements? And what can the humble noodle tell us about the history of food and the anthropology of globalisation? Also, British men dancing like Brazilians. Social scientist, Neil Stephens, discusses a study which finds that Capoeira challenges the traditional opposition between masculinity and dance. He's joined by Theresa Buckland, Professor of Dance History and Ethnography. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Sep 25, 2013
Holiday hedonism in Ibiza; White working class voters
Holiday hedonism - Laurie Taylor talks to the criminologist, Daniel Briggs, about his study into young British tourists' risk taking behaviour in Ibiza. From drug taking to prostitution, violence and injury. What leads these holidaymakers to engage in deviant, even dangerous behaviour when abroad? Also, Nathan Manning discusses his research into the meaning and causes of white, working class political disaffection. He interviewed low wage workers in Yorkshire and the NorthWest, areas where support for the far right British National Party and low voter turnout indicate alienation from mainstream politics. He's joined by Professor of Politics, Michael Kenny. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Sep 18, 2013
Bohemian Soho
Bohemian Soho - Laurie Taylor talks to the writer, Sophie Parkin, about her book on the Colony Room Club, a private members bar whose doors opened in 1948 and shut in 2008. The only criterion for membership was that you weren't dull. For 60 years it played host to an assortment of offbeat and colourful characters from the fashionable to the criminal: the artist, Francis Bacon, rubbed shoulders with the gangster Kray twins. Eccentrics and misfits congregated and drank in a smoky, shabby room with sticky carpets. But what place does the Colony Room have within a wider history of Bohemian life? Professor of Cultural Studies, Elizabeth Wilson, joins the discussion. Also, Melissa Tyler discusses her study of sales workers in Soho sex shops. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Sep 11, 2013
Erving Goffman
Erving Goffman - Laurie Taylor presents a special programme on the work and influence of this groundbreaking Canadian sociologist. He's joined by Professor Gregory Smith, Dr Rachel Hurdley and Dr Susie Scott. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Sep 04, 2013
Walter Benjamin
What is the value of forgotten histories, of possibilities not realised? What can a quite amble down a backstreet tell us about the nature of modernity? How has technology affected the nature and purpose of art? In the mid twentieth century Walter Benjamin explored all these questions and brought Marxist thinking to high culture, exploring people's relationship to objects and art. His influence is probably felt now more than ever. Laurie Taylor presents a special programme on the work of this pioneering German intellectual and theorist. He's joined by the philosopher Jonathan Ree and the professor of political aesthetics, Esther Leslie. Producer: Charlie Taylor.
Aug 28, 2013
Michel Foucault
Michel Foucault - Laurie Taylor presents a special programme on the life and work of the iconoclastic French philosopher and theorist. He's joined by Professor Stephen Shapiro, Professor Vikki Bell and Professor Lois McNay. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Aug 21, 2013
Drug users and enforcement; 'Militant' Liverpool
Drug enforcement - does it change the drugs market? Laurie Taylor talks to Neil McKeganey about his research into police crackdowns on illegal drugs in 3 different areas of the UK. The researchers interviewed local heroin users to establish their views and experience of police activity. Although most had found raids to be shocking and distressing, this had little impact on the price or availability of illegal drugs locally. Also, the sociologist, Diana Frost, explores Militant Tendency's domination of Liverpool politics in the 1980s. Interviewing key protagonists of the time, she uncovers mixed memories of a 'city on the edge'. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Aug 14, 2013
The Minutemen; 'Lay' Witnesses in Court
The Minutemen - who are they? Laurie Taylor talks to US sociologist, Harel Shapira about the right wing activists who patrol the US border in search of illegal immigrants. How should these men be characterised - as vigilantes, patriots or racists? Shapira met men who fought in Vietnam and Desert Storm and spoke of an America which no longer exists. Living alongside these men, he uncovered narratives of lost identity and community as well as extreme political convictions. Also, Nigel Fielding observed 65 crown court cases in England as part of his study into the effects of criminal trial procedures on 'lay' people, including victims, witnesses and defendants. His research highlights the confusion, anxiety and frustration which is often felt by the legally untrained in the face of courtroom convention. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Aug 07, 2013
'Teddies' and 'Gollies'; Smart-casual dining
Smart/casual dining - Once fine dining meant chandeliers, white tablecloths, and suited waiters. Yet today many of us will queue up for a seat at a loud, crowded noodle bar or eagerly seek out street stalls where the burgers are organic. The US food writer, Alison Pearlman, talks to Laurie Taylor about the forms and flavours taken by this 'foodie' revolution. Through on-the-scene observation and interviews with major players and chefs, she explores the blurring of boundaries between high and low cuisine. She's joined by Alan Warde, Professor of Sociology at the University of Manchester. 'Teddies' and 'Gollies' - US English Professor, Rhoda Zuk, talks to Laurie about her historical study into the place and meaning of teddy bears and golliwogs in children's lives and books, as well as in the 'racist' imagination. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Jul 31, 2013
Food Work in Hospital Wards; The Bangladesh/India Border
The Bangladesh/India border - As India sets about constructing a metal curtain along the full length of its border with Bangladesh, Cambridge anthropologist, Delwar Hussain travelled to the remote village of Boropani, which straddles the frontier, to see how the lives of ordinary people are being affected by the tussle between Dhaka and its emerging superpower neighbour. He talks to Laurie Taylor about the social and intimate lives of the people he met and a cross border coal industry that has little respect for the past, people or the environment. By focusing on the peripheries, his research exposes the promise and danger at the heart of the globalised world. 'Dirty work', emotional labour and the professionalisation of nursing - a qualitative study of meal services for older people at 4 UK hospital sites. Around 60% of UK patients aged 65 or older are at risk of malnutrition while in hospital. Ben Heaven discusses timely research into 'food work' and feeding assistance on hospital wards. Producer:Jayne Egerton.
Jul 24, 2013
Raising Middle-Class Black Children; Neon
Neon - Laurie Taylor discusses a history of the flickering light which illuminated the modern world. Professor of American Studies, Christoph Ribbat, charts the rise and fall of neon. From seedy back alleys to gaudy Las Vegas, its blinking presence has electrified the contemporary city. So why did the theorist, Theodor Adorno, so despise these glowing tubes? How did neon become such a recurrent metaphor for modernity in popular culture, ranging from the writings of Vladimir Nabokov to the art of Tracy Emin? And why has the gas which once lit up our lives begun to fade into oblivion? They're joined by the cultural critic, Matthew Sweet. Also, the first dedicated UK study of black Caribbean middle-class families, and their strategies and priorities in relation to their children's education. The role of 'extra-curricular' activities in the process by which black middle-class parents seek to raise and develop their children. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Jul 17, 2013
Terrorism Studies
'Terrorism Studies' - how it emerged as a new academic field in the post 9/11 world. Laurie Taylor talks to Harvard social scientist, Lisa Stampinitzky, about the themes of her new book "Disciplining Terror: How Experts Invented 'Terrorism' ". She argues that terrorists are now constructed as pathological and evil personalities who are beyond our understanding, unlike the pre 70s era when the acts of political violence, that we now call terrorism, were seen as the work of rational actors with strategic goals. This transformation of political violence into terrorism is held to have led to the current 'war on terror'. Drawing on archival research as well as interviews with terrorism experts, she traces the struggles through which experts made terrorism, and terrorism made experts. John Bew, a British expert on terrorism, considers and contests the arguments. Also, Christine Fair discusses a groundbreaking study which finds that support for political violence in Pakistan is lower amongst the poor than the middle classes. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Jul 10, 2013
Northern Ireland Sectarianism and Civility; The Global Pigeon
The Global Pigeon - our complex and contradictory relationship with the quintessential city bird. Laurie Taylor talks to Colin Jerolmack, an American sociologist, who spent over 3 years studying pigeon/human interaction across 3 continents. Pigeons were domesticated thousands of years ago as messengers, as well as a source of food. These days they're either treated as a nuisance or scarcely noticed on our city streets and roofs. This new study uncovers the many and versatile lives of these anonymous looking birds; the ways in which people have kept them for sport, for pleasure and profit: From the 'pigeon wars' waged by breeding enthusiasts in the skies over Brooklyn to the Million Dollar Pigeon Race held every year in South Africa. The author argues that our interactions with pigeons offer surprising insights into city life, community, culture, and politics. Also, sectarianism and civility in Northern Ireland - Dr Lisa Smyth explores how mothers from different religious communities 'get along' in the shared spaces of inner city Belfast. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Jul 03, 2013
Welfare reform; Crime in the Armed Forces
Crime in the Armed Forces - Laurie Taylor talks to Emeritus Professor of History, Clive Emsley, about his pioneering, historical study into criminal offending by members of British armed forces both during and immediately after the two world wars of the 20th century, and concluding in the present day. For a quarter of the 20th century, the UK had large conscripted armed forces and it is these services, and in particular the Army, that are the principal focus of this study. Emsley argues that the forces "reflect the society from which they come, both the good and the bad", pointing out that it's predominantly made up of younger men, the social group that commits the most crime. He also examines two popular assumptions about crime and war; namely, that crime decreases when wars begin as young men - those likeliest to commit crimes - are swept up into the forces; and that crime goes up at the end of war as men brutalised by combat returned to the civilian world but, unable to cope with 'peacetime', engage in crime and violence. Dr Deirdre MacManus, from King's College, joins the discussion, having recently completed a study into the relationship between combat experience and violent crime amongst British soldiers returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan. Also, Ruth Patrick's research into the lived experiences of welfare reform. She's interviewed a range of out of work benefits claimants between 2011 and 2013. Talking to single parents being moved from Income Support onto Jobseeker's Allowance, disabled people waiting to be migrated off Incapacity Benefit and onto Employment and Support Allowance, and young jobseekers experiencing the new Jobcentre/Work Programme and sanctions regime, her study gives a unique insight into the impact of a revolution in 'welfare' provision on 'real' people. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Jun 26, 2013
Remembering Diana; Ethnography Award
Remembering Diana - did Princess Diana's death lead to a major shift in British culture? Professor of Sociology, Vic Seidler, talks to Laurie Taylor about his new book which analyses the repercussions of Diana, Princess of Wales', death in 1997. He argues that the public outpourings of grief and displays of emotion prompted new kinds of identification and belonging in which communities came together regardless of race, class, gender and sexuality and helped to make visible changes in what might be called 'New' or 'post-traditional' Britain. Did her unexpected death see a challenge to 'stiff upper lip' reserve and to the typical split made in modernity between reason and emotion? The writer, Bea Campbell, who has also written about the Diana 'phenomenon', joins the discussion. Also, the anthropologist, Henrietta Moore discusses the history and significance of Ethnographic research. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Jun 19, 2013
Scottish nationalism and identity; Austerity
Does Austerity Kill? Laurie Taylor talks to political economist, David Stuckler, about the human costs of the financial crisis as documented in his book 'The Body Economic' (co-authored with Sanju Basu) -the culmination of ten years research. They're joined by David Smith, Economics Editor of the Sunday Times. We're well aware of the extreme costs of banking crisis in terms of the wealth of nations, but much less idea of how they affect one of the most central issues of all: our physical and mental health. Why has health in Iceland actually got better whilst it's deteriorated in Greece? From the Great Depression of the 1930s to post communist Russia and the US foreclosure scandal; Dr Stuckler study examines the surprising, seemingly contradictory nature of economic disasters' role in public health. They are joined by David Smith Economic Editor of the Sunday Times. Also, Nasar Meer discusses his study into ethnic minority Scots' relationship to Scottish Nationalism and identity Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Jun 12, 2013
'Long Hours' work culture; Empty labour
Empty labour - international statistics suggest that the average time an employee spends engaged in private activities is 1 and a half to 2 hours a day. Laurie Taylor talks to Roland Paulsen, a Swedish sociologist, who interviewed 43 workers who spent around half their working hours on 'empty labour'. Are such employees merely 'slacking' or are such little' subversions' acts of resistance to the way work appropriates so much of our time? They're joined by the writer, Michael Bywater. By contrast, Jane Sturges, discusses her research into professionals caught up, both reluctantly as well as willingly, in a 'long hours' work culture. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Jun 05, 2013
Multicultural Prison; Jellied Eels
The multicultural prison - a unique analysis of the daily lives and interactions of both white and ethnic minority inmates in the closed world of the modern, male prison. Diverse British nationals, foreign. and migrant populations, have been brought into close proximity within prison walls. How do they negotiate their tensions and differences? The criminologist, Coretta Phillips, talks to Laurie Taylor about her empirical research in Rochester Young Offenders' Institution and Maidstone Prison. Also, reactions to jellied eels. Drawing on a series of ethnographic encounters collected while hanging around at a seafood stand in east London, Alex Rhys Taylor explores the relationship between individual expressions of distaste and the production of class, ethnic and generational forms of distinction. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
May 29, 2013
Live Music - from Dance Hall to the 100 Club
Live music - from Dance Hall to the 100 Club. The social history of music in Britain since 1950 has long been the subject of nostalgic articles and programmes, but to date there has been no proper scholarly study. The writer and Professor of Music, Simon Frith, is one of the co-authors of the first in a three volume series which addresses this gap. He talks to Laurie Taylor about how the organisation and enjoyment of live music changed between 1950 and 1967 offering new insights into the evolving nature of musical fashions; the impact of developing technologies and the balance of power between live and recorded music businesses. The first volume draws on archival research, a wide range of academic and non-academic sources, participant observation and industry interviews. Dr Catherine Tackley, musician and lecturer, and Caspar Melville, lecturer in Global Cultural Industries, join the debate. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
May 22, 2013
Stammering and Identity; Land of Too Much
Poverty versus abundance in the US - why does America have more poor people than any other developed country? How can its great wealth fail to impact on the 46 million Americans, who, according to official figures, live below the poverty line? US sociologist, , Monica Prasad, suggests some reasons. She talks to Laurie Taylor about her new book, 'The Land of too Much: American Abundance and the Paradox of Poverty", arguing that we can't answer these questions by saying that America has always been a liberal, laissez-faire state - it hasn't. Instead, she claims that a particular tradition of government intervention in America has undermined the development of a European-style welfare state. They're joined by Professor of Social Policy, Peter Taylor-Gooby, who provides a British perspective. Also, stammering and identity - Dr Clare Butler discusses her interview based research into how people who stammer learn to control, conceal and rise above the stigma of having a style of speech which departs from the norm. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
May 15, 2013
Middle Class Enclaves and Escapes
Middle class enclaves and escapes. A special edition of Thinking Allowed partly recorded at the British Sociological Association's 2013 conference. Privatised neighbourhoods and lifestyle migration are a global phenomenon. Increasingly, it seems, middle class people with sufficient capital are choosing to 'opt out' of urban environments, or, at least, to shield themselves from their more 'dangerous' elements, namely the poorer residents. Laurie Taylor talks to a range of academics who have researched the various manifestations of this desire for enclaves, escapes and the 'good life'. Can the broader social dynamics and conflicts of a society be understood by examining evolving form of housing and urban flight? Maggy Lee talks about the rapid expansion of residential tourism and 'lifestyle migration' between Hong Kong and mainland China, as the 'well off' buy up high end, gated communities. Nick Osbaldiston looks at 'lifestyle migrants' in Australia who move to small, mainly coastal communities, representing a middle class 'takeover'. And Ceren Yalcin explores the proliferation of 'sealed off' housing complexes in Istanbul. They're joined by Rowland Atkinson who has done extensive research into gentrification, gated communities and housing inequality. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
May 08, 2013
British class survey; Tribute to Geoff Pearson
Laurie Taylor discusses the 'Great British Class Survey', a unique piece of research conducted by BBC Lab UK and academics from six different universities. The researchers devised a new way of measuring class, which doesn't define it by occupation but by the different kinds of economic, cultural and social resources or 'capitals' that people possess. But how have other academics with an interest in class reacted to this research? Mike Savage, one of the survey researchers and Professor in Sociology at the University of Essex, debates the merits of this new approach to class stratification with Colin Mills, lecturer in Sociology at Nuffield College, Oxford and Beverly Skeggs, Professor of Sociology at Goldsmiths College, London. Also, Dick Hobbs, Professor of Sociology at the University of Essex, offers a tribute to the eminent criminologist, Geoff Pearson who died recently. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
May 01, 2013
The Power of Oil
The Power of oil - Laurie Taylor presents a special programme which explores the role of oil in shaping our society, economy and environment. He talks to James Marriott of Platform, co-author with Mika Minio-Paluello of 'The Oil Road'. Their research took them from the oil fields of the Caspian Sea to the refineries and financial centres of Northern Europe. They're also joined by Tim Mitchell whose work focuses on the relationship between democracy and oil and John Urry, whose latest book pioneers a sociology of energy, analysing our carbon addiction in the light of ever dwindling resources. Is an oil free society possible or desirable? Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Apr 24, 2013
English Heritage; Clergy Lives
Heritage politics in the UK - Laurie Taylor talks to Ruth Adams, the author of a new study which argues that powerful interest groups have championed a 'country house' version of our national past in place of a more complex and diverse history. Has the heritage lobby transformed the architectural heritage of the aristocracy from a minority interest to a cause with popular support? And, if so, at what cost? Also, Dr Caroline Gatrell discusses her sociological exploration of the every day lives of modern day parish priests with her co- author, Dr Nigel Peyton, the Bishop of Brechin. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Apr 17, 2013
Thrift Chic; Thatcherism
'Thatcherism' - was it a distinct ideology? In the light of Margaret Thatcher's death, Laurie Taylor considers whether or not she had a coherent and radical philosophy which marked a rupture with a post war consensus crossing party political lines. In addition, he explores her impact on academic research and the universities. He talks to Robert Saunders, lecturer in Politics and History and co-editor of a recent book, 'Making Thatcher's Britain'. They're joined by Geoff Andrews, Senior Lecturer in Politics & International Studies. Also, media and cultural studies lecturer, Dr Tracey Jensen charts the rise of 'new thrift' projects in popular culture which promise to show us how to do 'more with less'. Austerity politics has, she claims, generated a range of TV shows, advice manuals and weblogs which have turned thrift from a means of survival into a chic, middle class, lifestyle choice. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Apr 10, 2013
Women and the Armed Forces
Women in combat - the US secretary of defence announced in January 2013 that, from 2016, women will be allowed to serve in ground-combat roles in the US armed forces. The UK is likely to soon be faced with the need to make a similarly historic decision. Laurie Taylor talks to Anthony King, Professor in Sociology at the University of Exeter; Christopher Coker, Professor of International Relations at the London School of Economics and Joanna Bourke, Professor of History at Birkbeck College. This special programme explores the history of the female soldier and the implications of women's increasing involvement on the 'frontline'. How central is war to cultural definitions of masculinity and femininity? Is there something stubbornly masculine at the centre of the dominant, military ethos with its emphasis on courage, honour and valour? Or are these questions becoming redundant as the nature of war itself changes, so that an emphasis on the winning of' hearts and minds' in the Afghanistan context and elsewhere, could be said to signify a feminisation of war? And is the growth in technology assisted warfare actually sidelining the 'human' altogether, regardless of gender. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Apr 03, 2013
Gang labour in UK; Industrial ruination
Industrial Ruination - the landscapes and legacies of post Industrial decline. Laurie Taylor talks to Alice Mah about her comparative study into urban dereliction in 3 contrasting contexts - Newcastle, Uk; Niagara Falls, Canada; and Ivanova, Russia. Also, the geographer, Kendra Strauss, discusses her research into the origins and rise of gang labour in the UK. She's joined by Ben Rogaly who has done extensive research into forced labour and exploitation in British horticulture. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Mar 27, 2013
Language of food politics; Italian food market
An Italian food market - Rachel Black talks to Laurie Taylor about her ethnographic account of Porto Palazzo, one of Europe's largest outdoor markets. She watched and spoke to its vendors, shoppers and passers-by to find out how a multi-ethnic market fosters a culinary culture and social life. Professor Sophie Watson is currently studying street markets and joins the discussion. Also, Guy Cook analyses the language of food and food politics; from baby food labels to organic marketing. How our choices and beliefs about what we eat are influenced by the persuasive power of words. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Mar 20, 2013
Guatemalan cemetery; Art auctions
Art Auctions - How do auctioneers and buyers transact sales in seconds? Laurie Taylor hears from Professor Christian Heath who discusses his detailed study into the tools and techniques which lead to the strike of a hammer. They're joined by the arts writer and critic, Georgina Adam. Also, the Guatemalan cemetery with no more room. The growth of the city combined with high death and murder rates means the cemetery is overflowing. The anthropologist, Kevin O'Neill, talks about the harsh effects of an aggressive policy of disinterment when poor relatives can't pay the dues. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Mar 13, 2013
Drugs for Life; Subcultural Identity
Drugs for life - Laurie Taylor talks to the US anthropologist, Joseph Dumit, about his research into the burgeoning consumption of medicine in the US. Dumit did ethnographic research with drug company executives, marketers, researchers, doctors and patients, and assessed the industry's strategies for expanding their markets. He asks if the huge growth in medication ties us to a radically new conception of ourselves as intrinsically ill and need of treatment. Is this a uniquely American development or does it equally apply to the UK and beyond? He's joined by the British sociologist, John Abraham. Also, hanging on to a subcultural identity in later life - we hear from listeners who still carry a torch for their youthful selves, be it as teds, mods, punks or goths....Professor Angela McRobbie analyses the phenomenon. Producer: Chris Wilson.
Mar 06, 2013
Fashion, Class and Mums; Red Racisms
'Red Racisms' - Laurie Taylor talks to the Professor of Racism and Ethnicity Studies, Ian Law, about his study of racism in Communist and Post Communist countries. He hears about the battle to challenge the racist underground in the Russian Federation, the post war experiences of the Roma in Hungary, the emergence of new forms of racism in Cuba and Tibetan struggles against Chinese domination. They're joined by the historian, Michael Stewart. Also, Katherine Appleford's research on class, motherhood and fashion - the extent to which mothers influence their daughters' taste in style and clothes. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Feb 27, 2013
'Ned' Pride in Scotland; Weapon Dogs
Weapon dogs - Laurie Taylor discusses the phenomenon of status dogs with Simon Harding, the author of 'Unleashed..' Also, the growth of 'Ned' pride in Scotland. 'Ned', or non educated delinquent, is the Scottish equivalent of the English term 'Chav'. It refers stereotypically to uneducated and anti social youth. But the sociologist, Robert Young, finds that some young Scots, including middle class teenagers, are proudly adopting the 'Ned' label as a mark of sub cultural rebellion. Stephanie Lawler, who has also studied the 'chav' phenomenon, joins the discussion. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Feb 20, 2013
Stan Cohen (1942 - 2013)
Stan Cohen - Laurie Taylor presents a special programme which pays tribute to the work and legacy of one of the most significant sociologists of our times. Eminent social scientists, Stuart Hall, Conor Gearty and Howard Becker, highlight his unique personality and contribution. And in the studio, three younger academics, Dr Claire Moon, Senior Lecturer in the Sociology of Human Rights, Dr Karen Lumsden, Lecturer in Sociology and David Scott, Senior Lecturer in Criminology and Criminal Justice, discuss Stan Cohen's ongoing influence . Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Feb 13, 2013
Organised Crime in the UK
Organised crime in the UK - how has it changed? Professor Dick Hobbs, joins Laurie Taylor, to discuss his work on 'Lush Life', a rich, ethnographic study into 'Dogtown', a composite of several overlapping neighbourhoods in East London. Looking behind the clichéd notions of criminal firms and underworlds, he finds that activity which was once the preserve of professional criminals has now been normalised. He invites us to consider whether or not the very idea of organised crime has become outdated in a predatory, post industrial world in which many fight, by illegal as well as legal means, to survive on the margins. Also, the presence and activities of the Mafia in the UK. Dr Felia Allum, a Lecturer in Italian History and Politics, discusses how Italian organised crime functions outside its territory of origin. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Feb 06, 2013
Rock climbing in conflict; women in Russian prisons
Russian women prisoners - in the light of Pussy Riot's imprisonment, timely research on Russia's distinctive penal geography. The sociologist, Judith Pallot, talks to Laurie Taylor about a study based on extensive interviews with prisoners and officers in different regions of Russia. She finds that the vast distances between prisons and womens' homes imposes harsh penalties on women and their families. They're joined by the criminologist, Dr Sharon Shalev. Also 'Bolt Wars': Lisa Bogardus spent 16 months researching and observing the rock climbing world. She describes a battle for the cliffs in which climbers clash about the need to reduce risk and danger. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Jan 30, 2013
Class and Commuting; Engaging with Climate Change
Climate change - what lies beneath its widespread denial? Laurie Taylor talks to Sally Weintrobe, the editor of the first book of its kind which explores, from a multi disciplinary perspective, what the ecological crisis actually means to people. In spite of a scientific consensus, many continue to resist or ignore the message of climate communicators - but why? What are the social and emotional explanations for this reaction? They're joined by the Professor of Social Policy, Paul Hoggett. Also, Simon Abernethy looks at the history of class and commuting on the London Underground. Although builders and managers travel in the same coaches in the 21st century 'tube', the mixing of classes was once seen as revolutionary. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Jan 23, 2013
Birth of Neo-Liberalism; Music, Race and Difference
Neo liberalism - its genesis and development. Laurie Taylor talks to Daniel Stedman Jones, the author of a new book which traces the origins of neo liberal economics. Also, the enduring and complex relationship between race and music. Laurie meets Jo Haynes, the author of a new study which considers the significance of race to the understanding of music genres and preferences. What does the 'love of difference' via music contribute to contemporary perspectives on racism? The research draws on interviews with people from the British world music scene. They're joined by Professor Paul Gilroy. Producer Jayne Egerton.
Jan 16, 2013
Contagion; changing masculinity in retail
Contagion - how commerce spreads disease. Laurie Taylor talks to Mark Harrison, Professor of the History of Medicine, about the close intertwining between trade and germs from the 14th century to today. His new book explores the development of public health in the Western world as well as the global misuse of quarantines for political ends. Also, young men working in retail. The sociologist, Steven Roberts' research finds evidence for a new and softer kind of masculinity. He's joined by Professor Valerie Walkerdine, who's documented the changing relationship between men and work in a post industrial economy. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Jan 09, 2013
Consuming Passions
Consumer pleasures - in a New Year special edition, Laurie Taylor explores the place of shopping in our lives, as well as within sociological thought. He's joined by Professor Colin Campbell, Dr Kate Soper and Professor Rachel Bowlby. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Jan 02, 2013
Intoxication - In a special programme, Laurie Taylor explores the role and meaning of both alcohol and drugs in human life. Why do so many people chose to alter their consciousness with stimulants, whether legal or illicit? Professor James Mills, the author of 'Cannabis Nation..' is joined by Professor Fiona Measham and Professor Chris Hackley. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Dec 26, 2012
Female jockeys; military migrants
Military Migrants and the British Army. From Fiji to Ghana, the British military recruits soldiers to fight Britain's wars. Since 1998 overseas recruitment has been stepped up in response to labour shortages and diversity programmes. The sociologist, Vron Ware, talks to Laurie Taylor about her new book 'Military Migrants: Fighting for Your Country'. She argues that this new category of soldier inhabits a contradictory situation - on the one hand, praised as a 'hero' but on the other, stigmatised as an 'immigrant' and 'foreigner'. They're joined by the sociologist, Les Back. Also, Deborah Butler discusses her research on trainee female jockeys in the horse racing world. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Dec 19, 2012
Children in hospitals; History, heritage and tradition in British politics
British politics, heritage and history. Laurie Taylor explores the divergent stories political parties construct about our history and their own historical roles. From disputes over the National Curriculum for History to the assertion of a lost 'social democratic' tradition by New Labour. Research Fellow, Emily Robinson, argues that politicians' manipulation of the past leaves them unable to speak of different futures. Also, Allison James talks about her research on the experience of sick children in hospital. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Dec 12, 2012
Work identity on the railway; how to be gay
How to be Gay - Laurie Taylor talks to David Halperin, the US Professor of History and Theory of Sexuality, whose controversial new book explores the way in which a gay male sensibility subverts mainstream culture, from Grand Opera to Broadway Musicals. Whilst some gay men repudiate what they perceive as a narrow and stereotypical version of their sexual identity; Halperin argues that a love of kitsch, camp and melodrama is, in fact, linked to a uniquely gay culture: Furthermore, its genius lies in some of its most despised features, namely its snobbery, caricatures of women and adoration of glamour. They're joined by the writer and cultural critic, Owen Jones. Also, Tim Strangleman discusses his study into work identity and 'loss': how older railway workers have reacted to change in their industry. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Dec 05, 2012
Family funerals; red tape
Red Tape in India - a major new study by the renowned anthropologist, Akhil Gupta, seeks to understand why state bureaucracy hinders the fight against poverty in the world's third largest economy. Laurie Taylor hears about his ethnographic study among officials in charge of development programs in rural Uttar Pradesh. Why is it that the expansion of government programmes have failed to improve significantly the lives of the poorest? Fellow anthropologist, Dr Alpa Shah, joins the discussion. Also, the sociologist, Kate Woodthorpe explores how funeral arrangements illuminate the modern family. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Nov 28, 2012
Archaeology of homelessness; residential care revisited
Residential care revisited - Laurie Taylor considers Peter Townsend's landmark research, 'The Last Refuge', fifty years after its publication. Retracing Townsend's footsteps, a hundred, older volunteer researchers sought to find out what had happened to the 173 care homes in his classic study. Julia Johnson, one of the authors of the new study, charts the changes and continuities in care for older people in England and Wales. She's joined by Robin Darton, an expert in social care, Also, the archaeologist Rachael Kiddey, examines artefacts from two homelessness sites in Bristol and York. What can these items, as well as oral histories collected from the homeless, tell us about what it means to have no shelter in the 21st century? Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Nov 21, 2012
Decline of the weekend; British riots of 2011
What was behind the British riots? From Blackberry and gossip to hard facts and first hand accounts. Laurie Taylor talks to Daniel Briggs about his research into last year's summer of discontent and damage. A definitive account of the nature and causes of the riots of 2011. Also, is it all over for the weekend? The sociologists, Jill Ebrey and Guy Standing, ask whether or not the weekend as a time for rest, family life and pleasure, is threatened with extinction by contemporary patterns of work. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Nov 19, 2012
Couchsurfing - Trauma Advocacy
Ever in need of a new way to travel? 'Couchsurfing', in the form of online social networking, allows users to travel with and stay at the homes of fellow users. It's just one example of how the internet aids face to face intimacy - sometimes amongst strangers. Paula Bialski talks to Laurie Taylor about her book 'Becoming Intimately Mobile' . Based on five years of ethnographic research amongst coach surfers and online hitchhiking website users, it documents new forms of human hospitality and connection. Also, trauma advocates in Croatia. Vanessa Pupavac and Ben Shephard reflect on the growth of compensation schemes for victims of civil war. Producer:Jayne Egerton.
Nov 07, 2012
The UK strip and lap-dancing industry; blue jeans
Growth of the strip clubs - Why has erotic dance and stripping become a staple of the night time economy in the UK? Kate Hardy tells Laurie Taylor why her research suggests that the proliferation of these clubs has little to do with the demands of male customers. Instead, it's a by product of the economics of an industry which maintains its profits, even during a recession, by passing the financial risks on to its workers. Also, the anthropologist, Daniel Miller asks what the ubiquity of blue jeans tells us about our individual and social lives. He's joined by the sociologist, Sophie Woodward. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Oct 31, 2012
Trouble at work, travellers vs tourists
Trouble at work: Laurie Taylor considers the findings of the largest UK study on ill treatment in the workplace ever undertaken. He's joined by the researchers, Ralph Fevre and Amanda Robinson, who claim that organisations which are well versed in modern management practices may create a culture in which bullying, harassment and stress thrive. Also, travellers versus tourists - Lara Week's research questions whether or not those seeking 'authentic culture' provide more to foreign countries than those who stick to the 'tourist trail' Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Oct 24, 2012
Sociologists and the financial crisis - Against security
Are the stringent checks at airports really for our benefit? 'Against Security', a new book by the acclaimed American sociologist, Harvey Molotch, explores the complex systems which are designed to make us feel safe in public places. He tells Laurie Taylor why he thinks that security measures in airports and subways, post 9.11, have damaged the pleasure and dignity of our daily lives. They're joined by the design critic, Stephen Bayley. Also, Sociology's failure to address the financial crisis. The social scientist, Alberto Toscano's paper 'Reformism and Melancholia' argues that the twin spectres of Fordism and Keynesianism have prevented sociologists from imagining a future beyond austerity. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Oct 17, 2012
The New Arab Man, Lords Club Affiliation
The 'New' Arab Man: Middle Eastern, Muslim men are often represented as 'zealots' and oppressors of women. But Laurie Taylor hears how 2 decades of research by the Professor of Anthropology, Marcia Inhorn, is undermining such cultural stereotypes. Her study found that ordinary Arab men who confront childlessness and infertility are re-thinking conventional masculinity. Also, research by Matthew Bond into elite club membership in the House of Lords. Is a British establishment still evident in the club community? Karel Williams, Professor of Sociology, joins the discussion. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Oct 10, 2012
Sickness Benefit Recipients - New Society 50 Years On
Sickness benefit claimants and their fear of the 'brown envelope'. Laurie Taylor hears about a new study into the views and experiences of the long term sick and disabled in the context of ongoing welfare reforms. The researcher, Kayleigh Garthwaite, highlights their ambivalence - whilst some have a deep seated anxiety about losing rights and income; others hope it will distinguish between the genuinely ill, such as themselves, and those that are 'faking'. Also, the former social science magazine 'New Society' broke new and radical grounds in its creation of a space for thoughtful debate about everyday culture and social issues; showcasing the ideas of academics and intellectuals as diverse as Angela Carter and Richard Hoggart. A former editor, Paul Barker, analyses the heyday and legacy of 'New Society' 50 years after its launch. He's joined by the writer, Lynsey Hanley and the Professor of Cultural Studies, Fred Inglis. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Oct 03, 2012
Race in an English village; decoding organisation
Bletchley Park, the decoding organisation, was at the heart of British intelligence operations in the Second World War. A mythology has grown around its secret activities, which some claim shortened the war by several years. Professor Christopher Grey talks to Laurie Taylor about his seminal research into the romance and reality of Bletchley Park. They're joined by Professor Anthony King. Also, race and 'belonging' in an English village. The social anthropologist, Katharine Tyler, explores the attitudes of white residents to their British Asian neighbours in a semi suburban village in the Midlands. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Sep 26, 2012
Ethnic pay gap, racial segregation
Segregation: a Global History of Divided Cities' Laurie Taylor talks to Carl Nightingale, the author of a groundbreaking new book about the ideology and practice of racial segregation in the city. Traversing continents and millennia, he analyses the urban divide from its imperial origins to postwar suburbanisation; from the racially split city of Calcutta to the American South in the age of Jim Crow. Finally, he considers the extent to which separation by race continues to deform the contemporary city. Also, the sociologist Malcolm Brynin, charts the causes and consequences of pay gaps between different ethnic groups in the UK. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Sep 19, 2012
Odd couples, student drinking
'Odd Couples' - friendships which cross the boundaries of gender and sexuality. A new book challenges the widespread assumption that men and women are fundamentally different and can only forge significant bonds within romantic relationships. It charts the deep friendships between gay men and straight women, and also between lesbians and straight men. Laurie Taylor talks to the sociologist, Anna Muraco, who claims that such 'intersectional' friendships serve as as a barometer for shifting social and sexual norms. The UK sociologist, Brian Heaphy joins the discussion. Also, an in depth study of the centrality of drinking to student identity. Its author, Maria Piacentini, discusses the ways in which young people neutralise feelings of guilt and stigma regarding their alcohol consumption. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Sep 12, 2012
Italian Family 3: Studio discussion
What has cause the Italian family to decline so fast? What are the prospects for encouraging Italians to start having more children? Laurie is joined in the studio by three experts in order to discuss his explorations of the family in Italy. Geoff Andrews, David Gilmour and Annalisa Piras give their views on what has caused the Italian crisis and what hopes there are for the future. Producer: Charlie Taylor.
Sep 05, 2012
Italian Family 1: Milan
Italy, home to the Pope and the Holy See, perhaps the most Catholic of all countries, is undergoing a peculiarly un-Catholic crisis; it now has one of the lowest birth rates in the world. There are so few children being born that if the current trend persists, traditional Italians are at risk of dying out in just a handful of generations. How can the nation famed for Romanticism, for enormous affectionate families, for Mamma Mia and for an enviable certainty that all you need is good food, good wine and your family around you, be the same nation that no longer gives birth? Laurie travels to Milan to unpick the tangled interactions between the individual, the family, the church and the state and discovers why Italians are delaying parenthood and in many cases rejecting having a family altogether. The first of three special editions on the crisis of the Italian family. Producer: Charlie Taylor.
Aug 31, 2012
Italian Family 2: Naples
Italy, home to the Pope and the Holy See, perhaps the most Catholic of all countries, is undergoing a peculiarly un-Catholic crisis; it now has one of the lowest birth rates in the world. There are so few children being born that if the current trend persists, traditional Italians are at risk of dying out in just a handful of generations. How can the nation famed for Romanticism, for enormous affectionate families, for Mamma Mia and for an enviable certainty that all you need is good food, good wine and your family around you, be the same nation that no longer gives birth? Laurie travels to the South of Italy and visits the sole-remaining glove maker in Naples, in an attempt to discover whether the Italian family business is heading for extinction. He also explores whether organised crime is a distortion of Italian family values - or their logical extension. Producer: Charlie Taylor.
Aug 29, 2012
Breaking rules; Wall Street women
The first generation of women to establish themselves on Wall Street began their careers in the 1960s. Laurie Taylor hears from Melissa Fisher about her in depth study of the working lives of the women at the heart of America's financial centre, and Liz Bolshaw joins the discussion to bring a comparison with women in The City of London. Also, Beth Hardie joins Laurie to discuss her new report on youth crime in Peterborough called Breaking Rules. Does morality have a role in preventing people committing crime? Her study uncovers its importance. Producer: Charlie Taylor.
Aug 15, 2012
Social capital; gentrification
What happens when middle class white people move into vibrant, ethnically diverse and challenging areas in inner city London? Emma Jackson talks to Laurie about the developing attitudes of the 'gentrifiers' in Peckham and in Brixton. Also, Irena Grugulis, author of Jobs for the Boys returns to the programme: She address points raised by listeners on her study of networking in the media and discusses the concept of 'social capital'. Producer: Charlie Taylor.
Aug 10, 2012
Jobs for the Boys
'Jobs for the Boys?' New research presented at the British Sociological Association's 2012 conference claimed that middle class people hoard job opportunities in the UK TV and film industry. In a pre- recorded interview from the conference, Professor Irena Grugulis, suggests to Laurie Taylor that working class people don't get these jobs because they don't have the right accents, clothes, backgrounds or friends. Indeed, it's hard to find an area of the economy where connections and contacts are more significant. But is this mainly due to structural changes in the industry rather than to class based prejudice? The media expert, Sir Peter Bazalgette and Professor of Sociology, Mike Savage, respond to this research and explore nepotism, networking and discrimination in the media world and beyond. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Aug 01, 2012
Sport under communism - Regeneration Games
Advanced CCTV, security cordons and an £80 million pound electric fence: The security impact of the Olympics is already being felt in the London Borough of Newham. Security procedures are some of the most intense and developed in the world, designed to protect not only Olympic visitors but also future residents of the 40,000 new homes due to be completed by the end of the decade. Newham is one of the most impoverished areas in the country and the condition of its current residents stands in sharp contrast to the lives of people flooding into the borough for the Olympics. Laurie Taylor talks to Gary Armstrong about a large scale study of security, policing and the impact of the 'Regeneration Olympics' on the lives of the residents of Newham. Also on the programme, Laurie speaks to Jonathan Grix about 'sport under communism' and why East Germany was, for two decades, one of the most successful nations in the Summer and Winter Olympics. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Jul 25, 2012
Builders and Musicians
Building workers constitute between five and ten per cent of the total labour market in almost every country. We rely on them to construct the infrastructure of our societies yet we know little about their culture. The sociologist, Darren Thiel, talks to Laurie Taylor about his study into their every day lives on a London construction site. Also, drawing on research with musicians in the North East of England, Dr Susan Coulson finds that co-operation, creativity and entrepreneurship make uneasy bedfellows. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Jul 18, 2012
Immortality; Evil
From Victorian seances to schemes which upload our minds into cyberspace, there are myriad ways in which human beings have sought to conquer mortality. The philosopher, John Gray, discusses his book "The Immortalisation Commission: Science and the Strange Quest to Cheat Death" with Laurie Taylor. The cultural historian Marina Warner joins the debate. Also, listeners' response to Thinking Allowed's recent discussion on the sociology of 'evil'. Professor Barry Smith, the director of the Institute of Philosophy, explores contrasting analyses of 'evil' within modern thought. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Jul 11, 2012
Urban Protest
From the Paris Commune to the 'Right to the City', cities have long been the centre of utopian dreams and protests. They have generated riches, destitution, celebration and organised and often violent protest. Professor David Harvey, the acclaimed social geographer, talks to Laurie Taylor about the urban roots of the contemporary capitalist crisis and the vision of a city for all. They're joined by the sociologist, Sophie Watson. Producer: Charlie Taylor.
Jul 04, 2012
Evil; the morality of cycling
'Evil' is a concept more readily associated with theology and psychology than the social sciences. Tabloid headlines denounce 'evil' crimes but offer little in the way of explanation. Indeed, the very term implies that no explanation is possible. But Michel Wieviorka, the leading French sociologist, tells Laurie Taylor why he thinks that 'evil' can and should be subjected to sociological scrutiny. They're joined by Peter Young, Head of Criminology at the University of Kent. Also, the sociologist, Judith Green, talks about her study into the morality of cycling - do cyclists feel they are 'better' than drivers and have drivers conceded the ethical high ground? Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Jun 27, 2012
Hostility to tax; Mumbai slums
Annawadi is a makeshift settlement in the shadow of luxury hotels near Mumbai's international airport. The Pulitzer prize winning writer, Katherine Boo, spent 4 years hearing the stories of the slum dwellers who stand little chance of joining the 'new' Indian middle class. She talks to Laurie Taylor about her new book "Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death and Hope in a Mumbai Slum". Also, the sociologist, Jeff Kidder, highlights new research which analyses why so many Americans are morally opposed to taxation. They're joined by British sociologist, Peter Taylor Gooby, who's researched British attitudes to tax. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Jun 20, 2012
Kinship is a key term in Anthropology. It describes the genealogical and biological ties which bind human beings to each other. The French anthropologist, Maurice Godelier, tells Laurie Taylor about his groundbreaking study into the evolution of kinship as a reality, as well as a concept. He disputes the idea that it constitutes the original building block of society; arguing instead that political and religious allegiances cut across family groups. He also suggests that traditional ideas of 'kinship' are complicated by the modern day transformation in family forms. The celebrated British anthropologists, Henrietta Moore and Adam Kuper, join the debate. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Jun 13, 2012
Working class alienation - Nottingham council estate
Laurie Taylor explores new research from this year's British Sociological Association conference. Lisa Mckenzie describes the growth in working class alienation on the St Anne's housing estate in Nottingham. Also, Dr Maria Papapolydorou, considers how class impacts on young peoples choice and experience of friendship. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
Jun 06, 2012
AIDS conspiracy theories; comics
British comics are full of iconic and transgressive characters from Dan Dare to Minnie the Minx. Laurie Taylor talks to professor James Chapman the author of a new book charting the cultural history of British comics. They are joined by the broadcaster Matthew Sweet. Also, Professor Nicoli Nattrass explains why a disproportionate percentage of Black South Africans and African Americans subscribe to conspiracy theories about the origins of AIDS.. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
May 30, 2012
Wine tasting; US philanthropy
Philanthropy is most often associated with the fight against poverty and disease. But a new book claims that the philanthropic foundations established by the major American industrialists - Rockefeller, Carnegie and Ford - have also promoted American values across the world. From Chile to Indonesia, they've invested in the creation of intellectual elites with a neo liberal agenda. And, it's claimed, they've had a significant role on the international stage, transforming America from a parochial nation into a global leader. Professor Inderjeet Parmar explores the power of US philanthropy with Laurie Taylor. Also, what does the language of wine tell us about civilisation? Professor Steven Shapin charts the cultural and chemical evolution of wine tasting. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
May 23, 2012
Why Love Hurts
The agony of love is a classic trope of romantic literature and popular journalism. The suffering caused by failures in our personal lives seems timeless. But the sociologist, Eva Illouz, argues that the nature of romantic suffering has changed radically in the modern era. Her book 'Why Love Hurts' argues that the individual misery of the 'broken hearted' should be subjected to scrutiny by social scientists. Failures in our private lives are shaped by social forces much larger than ourselves; they can't be explained by our individual psyches and histories alone. Stephen Frosh, Professor of Psychosocial studies, also joins the discussion. Laurie Taylor puts love under the sociological microscope. Producer: Jayne Egerton.
May 16, 2012
Hebden Bridge; neighbours
Hebden Bridge was once a working class textile town shaped by a culture of chapel and self help. But a new book finds its character transformed by a wave of incomers - from hippies to home workers. The writer Paul Barker talks to Laurie Taylor about community, past and present, in Hebden Bridge. Also, the social historian, Emily Cockayne explores relations between neighbours down the ages. As long as people have lived in shelters they have had people living next door. But how has the support, as well as the noise and nuisance of neighbours changed over time? Producer: Jayne Egerton.
May 09, 2012
Nationhood; recognising transgender
What drives people to make the often difficult choices to change their bodies and change their gender? How is the everyday affection for one's country changing in English life? Laurie Taylor discusses issues of transsexuals and the body modifications they choose. Also the place of ordinary English nationalism, as he meets the joint winners of The British Sociological Association's Philip Abrams first book prize. Producer: Charlie Taylor.
May 02, 2012