Thinking Allowed

Thinking Allowed

United Kingdom

New research on how society works

Episodes

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.

Sport and Philosophy - Inside an African-Caribbean Football Club  

The philosophy of sport, and the evolution of a African Caribbean football club.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

The ways women age - beauty politics  

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 procedures. 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 Ward, Research Associate in the Department of Psychology, Sociology and Politics at Sheffield Hallam University. Producer: Jayne Egerton.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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