Thinking Allowed

Thinking Allowed

United Kingdom

New research on how society works

Episodes

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 Leyshom, 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.

Globalisation - Virtual workers  

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. 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.

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 Geography at Durham University, 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 Indian 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.

16/11/2016  

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.

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.

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