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Science

Thinking Allowed

Updated 6 days ago

Science
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New research on how society works

Read more

New research on how society works

iTunes Ratings

165 Ratings
Average Ratings
115
27
11
5
7

Love it!

By cfful - Nov 16 2014
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Very helpful and thought provoking!

Intriguing and fun

By Vandrklw - Nov 01 2010
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Great, wide ranging discussions. Big topics and arcane trivia you can use at your next soirée.

iTunes Ratings

165 Ratings
Average Ratings
115
27
11
5
7

Love it!

By cfful - Nov 16 2014
Read more
Very helpful and thought provoking!

Intriguing and fun

By Vandrklw - Nov 01 2010
Read more
Great, wide ranging discussions. Big topics and arcane trivia you can use at your next soirée.

Listen to:

Cover image of Thinking Allowed

Thinking Allowed

Updated 6 days ago

Read more

New research on how society works

Fashion and Beauty

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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

28mins

Play

The end of 'careers', Humour at work

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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

28mins

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Con Men in New York, Iconography of punishment

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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

28mins

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Being Single - Modern Romance

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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

28mins

Play

Twitter; Elite University Admissions

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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

28mins

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Marx and Marxism

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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

28mins

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The Secret World of Hair

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An anthropological journey through the world of hair.

Jul 13 2017

28mins

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Love

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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

28mins

Play

A special programme on Pierre Bourdieu

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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. Revised repeat

Producer: Jayne Egerton

Jun 07 2019

28mins

Play

Eviction, Self-build

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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

28mins

Play

Cool

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'Cool' - Laurie Taylor traces the trajectory of the notion of ‘cool’ with Joel Dinerstein, Professor of English and American Studies at Tulane University, and author of a study which suggests it originated in American jazz clubs as a stylish defence against racism and cross fertilised with French existentialism and film noir.

Also, ‘cool shades’: Vanessa Brown, Senior Lecturer in the School of Art and Design at Nottingham Trent University, explores the enduring appeal of sunglasses as the ultimate signifiers of ‘cool’ in mass culture.

Producer: Jayne Egerton

Oct 23 2019

28mins

Play

The debt collection industry, Spousal job loss

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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

28mins

Play

Universal Basic Income

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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

28mins

Play

Beauty - Ugliness

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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

28mins

Play

Marxism, 'Red' Globalisation

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Laurie Taylor talks to David Harvey, world authority on Marx's thought.

Nov 08 2017

27mins

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Weather forecasting, Young people and politics

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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

28mins

Play

The Creative Economy, 'Grudge' Spending

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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

28mins

Play

Philanthropy - Charity

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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

28mins

Play

Management Jargon

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Why is meaningless speech in the workplace so ubiquitous?

Sep 13 2017

28mins

Play

Happiness Industry, Wellness Syndrome

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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

28mins

Play

The Religious Right in the US

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The religious right in the US - Laurie Taylor talks to Anne Nelson, writer and Adjunct Research Scholar in the Faculty of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University, about her exploration of the way in which the religious right in the US has risen to political power. Who are the Council for National Policy and why does she consider they represent a 'shadow network'? Also Gregory Smith, associate director of research at Pew Research Center in Washington, provides facts and figures on the white evangelical vote.

Producer: Jayne Egerton

Dec 04 2019

28mins

Play

Black music cultures in London

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Black music culture: Laurie talks to Caspar Melville, Lecturer in Global Creative and Cultural Industries at SOAS, about his study of the musical life which emerged in post-colonial London at the end of the twentieth century – from reggae and soul in the 1970s, to rare groove and rave in the 1980s and jungle in the 1990s. They're joined by Kim-Marie Spence, Post Doctoral Student at Solent University, Southampton, who explores the mixed fortunes of reggae and dancehall within Jamaica and beyond.

Producer: Jayne Egerton

Nov 27 2019

28mins

Play

Thrift

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Thrift: Through the strictures of the global financial downturn and its aftermath citizens have been urged to ‘keep calm and carry on’. This slogan, first coined in the 1940s and revived in the 2000s, found its way into political rhetoric and popular culture. Laurie talks to Rebecca Bramall, lecturer in media and communications at the London College of Communication, about the cultural politics of austerity. Also, Alison Hulme, lecturer in International Development at the University of Northampton, surveys the history of 'thrift' from the early Puritans to Post-war rationing and into consumer culture. What are the overlaps between thrift and austerity?

Producer: Jayne Egerton

Nov 20 2019

28mins

Play

Time

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Time: Laurie Taylor considers the extent to which the way we spend our time has changed over the last fifty years. Is it true that we are working more, sleeping less and addicted to our phones? What does this mean for our health, wealth and happiness? Oriel Sullivan, Professor of Sociology of Gender at the UCL, has taken a detailed look at our daily activities and found some surprising truths about the social and economic structure of the world we live in. Also, Daniel S. Hamermesh, Distinguished Scholar at Barnard College, examines the pressure to do more in less time. Which people are the most rushed & why - from France and Germany to the UK and Japan.

Producer: Jayne Egerton

Nov 13 2019

28mins

Play

Disasters

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Disasters: Kathleen Tierney, Professor of Sociology at the University of Colorado, sheds light on the social roots of disaster vulnerability. We know that hurricanes and tsunamis kill, maim, and generate huge financial losses – but they do not wreak their damage equally across populations. How do countries recover from disasters? Greg Beckett, Assistant Professor in Sociocultural Anthropology at Western University, Ontario, talks about the lives of Haitian people struggling to survive amid the ruins of ecological devastation and economic collapse. In what ways do natural disasters – principally the 2010 earthquake - amplify existing crises?

Producer: Jayne Egerton

Nov 06 2019

28mins

Play

Immortality - transhumanism

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Immortality: Pursuing a life beyond the human. Anya Bernstein, Associate Professor of the Social Sciences at Harvard University, talks to Laurie Taylor about the Russian visionaries and utopians who seek to overcome the limitations of our material bodies. Also, Alex Thomas, Lecturer in Media Production at the University of East London, explores the ethical dilemmas relating to transhumanism. Who will benefit from technologies which assist the desire to transcend our mortal state?

Producer: Jayne Egerton

Oct 30 2019

28mins

Play

Cool

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'Cool' - Laurie Taylor traces the trajectory of the notion of ‘cool’ with Joel Dinerstein, Professor of English and American Studies at Tulane University, and author of a study which suggests it originated in American jazz clubs as a stylish defence against racism and cross fertilised with French existentialism and film noir.

Also, ‘cool shades’: Vanessa Brown, Senior Lecturer in the School of Art and Design at Nottingham Trent University, explores the enduring appeal of sunglasses as the ultimate signifiers of ‘cool’ in mass culture.

Producer: Jayne Egerton

Oct 23 2019

28mins

Play

Serial killers

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Serial killers: Laurie talks to Ian Cummins, Senior Lecturer in Social Work at the University of Salford, about the media and cultural responses to the child murders committed by Ian Brady and Myra Hindley two decades earlier. The Moors Murders were to provide an unfortunate template for future media reporting on serial killing, including the crimes committed by Peter Sutcliffe - the Yorkshire Ripper - as described in a new study by Louise Wattis, Senior Lecturer in Criminology and Sociology at Teesside University. Sutcliffe murdered 13 women in the North of England between 1975 and 1980. Dr Wattis discusses the way in which these crimes shed light on how we think about fear of crime, gender and serial murder and the representation of victims and sex workers.

Producer: Jayne Egerton

Oct 16 2019

28mins

Play

Estates

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Council estates: Laurie Taylor talks to Insa Lee Koch, Associate Professor in Anthropology at the LSE, and author of a new study which explores the history of housing estates and the every day live of residents on one such estate in southern England. How did council housing turn from being a marker of social inclusion to a marker of abject failure? Also, the origins and symbolism of the ‘sink estate’, a term invented by journalists and amplified by think tanks and politicians. Tom Slater, Reader in Urban Geography at the University of Edinburgh, traces the usage of this term and the long term impact of associating council estate residents with effluence and sewage.

Producer: Jayne Egerton

Oct 09 2019

28mins

Play

Land and territory

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Land Struggles: From Bolivia to Britain, the way that land is owned and controlled is central to many contemporary inequalities and political battles. Laurie Taylor talks to Brett Christophers, Professor in the Department of Social and Economic Geography at Uppsala University, Sweden, about ‘the new enclosure’, a UK study into the appropriation of public land by the private sector – an astonishing two million hectares worth £400 billion – in recent decades. This ownership now forms the largest component of wealth in Britain and is the largest privatisation of a public resource in European history. Also, Penelope Anthias, Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography at University of Durham, describes the lives of indigenous people in Bolivia as they struggle to regain ancestral territory after a century of colonialism and state backed dispossession.

Producer: Jayne Egerton

Oct 02 2019

28mins

Play

War in the air

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War in the air: Laurie Taylor explores the history of aerial bombing and tear gas; from the battlefield to urban streets. He's joined by Thomas Hippler, Professor of Modern History at Caen University, Normandy, Anna Feigenbaum, Senior Lecturer in Digital Storytelling at Bournemouth University and Steve Graham, Professor of Professor of Cities and Society at Newcastle University. Revised repeat.
Producer: Jayne Egerton.

Jul 17 2019

28mins

Play

Engineers of Jihad. Orange jumpsuits

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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. Revised repeat.

Producer: Jayne Egerton

Jul 10 2019

26mins

Play

TV in prison - Live music in prison

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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, focused 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. Revised repeat.

Producer: Jayne Egerton

Jul 03 2019

26mins

Play

Organised crime in the UK

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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 Mafia style crime both in Italy, as well as in the UK. Dr Felia Allum, a Lecturer in Italian History and Politics, discusses how Italian organised crime functions outside its territory of origin. Revised repeat.

Producer: Jayne Egerton

Jun 26 2019

27mins

Play

The ways women age - Beauty politics

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The ways women age: Laurie Taylor talks to Abigail Brooks, Assistant Professor of Sociology at Providence College USA, and author of a study which asks why women choose or reject cosmetic anti ageing proceedures. Also, beauty politics in the Neoliberal age. Ros Gill, Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis at City University, discusses the ways in which women are required to be 'aesthetic entrepreneurs', maintaining a constant vigilance about their appearance. They're joined by Rachel Wood, Research Associate in the Department of Psychology, Sociology and Politics at Sheffield Hallam University. Revised repeat.

Producer: Jayne Egerton.

Jun 20 2019

27mins

Play

The meaning of the face

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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. Revised repeat.

Producer: Jayne Egerton.

Jun 12 2019

27mins

Play

A special programme on Pierre Bourdieu

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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. Revised repeat

Producer: Jayne Egerton

Jun 07 2019

28mins

Play

Michel Foucault - a special programme on his work and influence.

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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. Revised repeat.

Producer: Jayne Egerton

Jun 07 2019

28mins

Play

Erving Goffman - a special programme

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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. Revised repeat.

Producer: Jayne Egerton

Jun 07 2019

28mins

Play

Walter Benjamin - a special programme on his work and influence

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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. Revised repeat

Producer: Charlie Taylor

Jun 07 2019

28mins

Play