Thinking Allowed

Thinking Allowed Podcast

New research on how society works

Fashion & VIP Parties
Fashion & VIP parties - Laurie Taylor explores the hidden stories behind the glamour and wealth. He's joined by Giulia Mensitieri, Social Anthropologist and Ethnologist Research Fellow at the Université Paris Nanterre, and author of a study which investigates the fashion industry and uncovers the harsh and exploitative realities which lurk beneath the glittering façade. Also, Ashley Mears, Associate Professor in Sociology at Boston University, describes the exclusive global nightclub and party circuit, ...

REVOLUTION
REVOLUTION: Are all radical upheavals in the social, economic and political order destined to fail? Laurie Taylor talks to Daniel Chirot, Herbert J. Ellison Professor of Russian and Eurasian Studies at the University of Washington, about his study into why so many of the iconic revolutions of modern times have ended in bloody tragedies. Does radical idealism inevitably have tragic consequences? Also, the Rojava Revolution, how a region in Northeastern Syria, has become the site of extraordinary transform...

Elites
Elites: Laurie Taylor explores the anti elitism which has become a common staple of media commentary and political rhetoric. He talks to Eliane Glaser, Reader in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University, and author of a new study arguing that we are taking aim at the wrong enemy and confusing a corporate elite, which does pose a threat to many of us, with people who make our lives worth living, even save our lives – from doctors and lawyers to writers and artists. Are we letting the ‘real’ elite off the hook...


Cars
CARS: How do cars transmit our identities behind the wheel? Laurie Taylor explores the meaning of cars from Bradford to China. Yunis Alam, Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Bradford, discusses his study of car ownership amongst Bradfordians of Pakistani heritage. How do cars project status, class, taste and racial identity? Also, Jun Zhang, Assistant Professor of Asian and International Studies at City University of Hong Kong, describes the rise of car consumption in China and the ways in...

Bunkers
Bunkers: The bunker has become the extreme expression of our greatest fears: from pandemics to climate change and nuclear war. Laurie Taylor talks to Bradley Garrett, Assistant Professor in Human Geography at University College Dublin, about the global movement of 'prepping' for social and environmental collapse, or 'Doomsday'. They're joined by Diane Morgan, Lecturer in Cultural Studies at the University of Leeds and author of a study examining the symbolic meaning of the bunker and the way in which dem...

CEO Society - Time Management
CEO Society – Laurie Taylor talks to Peter Bloom, Head of the Department of People and Organisations at the Open University and author of a new book which asks why corporate leaders such as Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg have become cultural icons of the 21st century. Also, how did productivity emerge as a way of thinking about job performance? Melissa Gregg, Research Director at Intel, explains why she thinks that time management is actually counterproductive. Repeat. Producer: Jayne Egerton...


Au pairing and domestic labour
With her 1974 study The Sociology of Housework, Ann Oakley offered a comprehensive sociological study of women’s work in the home. Analysing interviews with urban housewives, she found that most women, regardless of class, were dissatisfied with housework. It was a finding that contrasted with prevailing perspectives, and a study that challenged the scholarly neglect of housework. Now that this landmark text has been reissued, Ann talks to Laurie Taylor about its significance and reflects on what has change...

Surveillance
Surveillance: Laurie Taylor explores the way in which we have become the watchers, as well as the watched. From 9/11 to the Snowden leaks, stories about surveillance increasingly dominate the headlines. But surveillance is not only 'done to us' – it is something we do in everyday life. We submit to surveillance, believing we have nothing to hide. Or we try to protect our privacy. At the same time, we participate in surveillance in order to supervise children, monitor other road users, and safeguard our prop...

The Politics of Memorials
The Politics of Memorials: Remembering Emmet Till – in 1955, a young African-American was lynched in Mississippi at the age of 14, after being accused of offending a white woman in her family's grocery store. Driving through the Mississippi Delta today, you’ll find a landscape dotted with memorials to major figures and moments from the civil rights movement, none more tragic than this murder. The ways in which his death is remembered have been fraught from the beginning, revealing the political controversie...


Skateboarding - Parkour
Skateboarding and parkour: Laurie Taylor explores lifestyle sports in the hyper regulated city. Iain Borden, Professor of Architecture and Urban Culture at UCL, considers the origins, history and thrill of skateboarding. They're joined by Thomas Raymen, a senior lecturer in the Social Sciences department at Northumbria University, who followed a group of Newcastle free running enthusiasts, from wall to rooftop, and probed the contradictions between transgression and conformity to the values of consumer cap...

Metrics
Laurie Taylor explores the increasing use of metrics across diverse aspects of our lives. From education to healthcare, charities to policing, we are are target-driven society which places a heavy emphasis on measuring, arguably at times at the expense of individual professional expertise. Laurie is joined by Jerry Muller, Professor of History at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., who asserts in his book, The Tyranny of Metrics, that we are fixated by metrics, to the extent to whi...

Maoism
Maoism: the changing face of a revolutionary ideology. Julia Lovell, Professor in Modern Chinese History and Literature at Birkbeck, University of London explores the origins and development of global Maoism; Alpa Shah, Associate Professor in Anthropology at LSE, provides a glimpse into the lives of a group of Maoist guerrillas in modern day India and Dennis Tourish, Professor of Leadership and Organisation Studies at the University of Sussex, looks at Maoist organisations in the context of his research int...


Ignorance
Strategic ignorance and knowledge resistance: Laurie Taylor talks to Mikael Klintman, Professor of Sociology at the University of Lund, Sweden about our capacity for resisting insights from others. At all levels of society, he argues, our world is becoming increasingly dominated by an inability, even refusal, to engage with others' ideas. It does not bode well either for democracy or for science. They're joined by Linsey McGoey, Professor of Sociology at the University at Essex, whose new study explores t...

Rummage - Waste
Rummage & waste: Laurie Taylor talks to Emily Cockayne, Senior Lecturer in Early Modern History at the University of East Anglia, about the overlooked story of our throwaway past, from ladies of the First World War who turned dog hair into yarn to Girl Guides inspired to collect bottle tops by the litter collecting Wombles of Wimbledon. What lessons can be drawn from the past to address urgent questions of our waste today? Patrick O'Hare, Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Social Anthropology at...

Finance
Traders and finance: Daniel Beunza - Associate Professor in the Cass Business School at City, University of London, talks to Laurie Taylor about his study of a Wall Street derivatives-trading room. In particular, he explores how the extensive use of financial models and trading technologies over recent decades has exerted a far-ranging influence on Wall Street , one which should alert us to the risks of moral disengagement caused by a dependence on ‘models’. Also, Anastasia Nesvetailova, Director of Ci...


Blood
Blood - Laurie Taylor explores the metaphorical, as well as material, reality of blood. He's joined by Gil Anidjar, Professor of Religion and Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African studies at Columbia University, and author of a study which explores the relationship between the history of Christianity and blood. What are the social and political implications of the way in which Christian blood come to be associated with purity and kinship? Also, Janet Carsten - Professor of Social and Cultural Anthrop...

Trust in a time of pandemic
Trust in a time of pandemic. Laurie Taylor explores the role of social capital and trust in combatting Covid-19. He's joined by Michael Calnan, Professor of Medical Sociology at the University of Kent and Tannistha Samanta, Assistant Professor at the Indian Institute of Technology in Gandhinagar. Producer: Jayne Egerton...

Kidnap
KIDNAP - Millions of people live, travel, and work in areas with significant kidnap risks, yet kidnaps of foreign workers, local VIPs, and tourists are surprisingly rare and the vast majority of abductions are peacefully resolved. Anja Shortland, Reader in Political Economy, King's College London, explores this lucrative but tricky business. Also, Jatin Dua, Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Michigan, examines the upsurge in maritime piracy off the coast of Somalia, taking us inside p...


Loneliness
Loneliness - Fay Bound Alberti, Reader in History at the University of York, charts the emergence of loneliness as a contemporary emotional state. Also, Janne Flora, postdoctoral scholar at Aarhus University, explores the deep connections between loneliness and modernity in the Arctic, tracing the history of Greenland and analysing the social dynamics that shaped it. Producer: Jayne Egerton...

Citizenship
Citizenship - Carol Vincent, Professor of Sociology of Education, explores the way in which children are being taught about ‘fundamental British values’ such as democracy and tolerance. Does this government imposed requirement too easily result in a celebration of reductionist symbols and stereotypes of Britishness - 'tea and the Queen'? Also, David Bartram, Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Leicester, takes a critical look at a UK ‘citizenship process’ which subjects...

Loss
Loss: How should we understand the 'road not taken'? Laurie Taylor talks to Susie Scott, Professor of Sociology at the University of Sussex, about her study of lost experience - that vast terrain of things we have not done, that did not happen or that we have not become. Also, Tim Strangleman, Professor of Sociology at the University of Kent, reveals a lost world of paternalistic employment in which people enjoyed a well-paid job for life, free meals in silver service canteens, after work sports & theatr...


Water
WATER – Laurie Taylor explores the cultural life of a natural substance. Sophie Watson, Professor of Sociology at the Open University, considers the taken for granted-ness of this vital fluid and the everyday connections it forges amongst human beings. They’re joined by Benjamin J. Pauli - Assistant Professor of Social Science at Kettering University in Flint, Michigan, whose study of the Flint water crisis describes the way in which “water warrior” activists have expanded the struggle for water justice, co...

Nudity
NUDITY – Laurie Taylor explores the cultural history of nudity and its impact on ideas about the body from the early twentieth century to the present. He talks to Sarah Schrank, Professor of History at California State University, about the unusual eras and locations in which it thrived - from Depression-era collectives to 1950s suburban nudist communities—as well as the more predictable beaches and resorts. They’re joined by Barbara Górnicka, Assistant Professor in Sociology at University College, Dublin...

Hidden gay lives
Hidden gay lives: Laurie Taylor uncovers the ‘fabuloso’ history of Polari, Britain’s secret gay language with Paul Barker, Professor of English Language at Lancaster University. He also talks to the cultural historian, James Polchin, about the ways in which 20th c American crime pages recover a little discussed history of violence against gay men, one in which they were often held responsible for their own victimisation. Producer: Jayne Egerton...


Borders
Borders: Laurie Taylor explores the control of national borders. He talks to Nira Yuval Davis, Director of the research centre on Migration, Refugees and Belonging at the University of East London and co-author of a new book which asks why borders have moved from the margins into the centre of political life and turned many ordinary citizens into untrained border guards. They’re joined by Jeremy Slack, Assistant Professor of Geography at the University of Texas, who charts the way in which Mexican deport...

The Power of Oil
The Power of oil - Laurie Taylor 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. Timothy Mitchell, Professor of Middle Eastern Studies at Colombia University, joins the discussion, considering the relationship between democracy and oil. John Urry (1946-2016) also to...

The 'Happiness Industry' - The 'Wellness Syndrome'
The Happiness Industry: Laurie Taylor talks to Will Davies, Professor 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, Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Portsmouth. Revised repea...


Consuming passions
Consumer pleasures - 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. Revised repeat. Producer: Jayne Egerton...

Love
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.Revised repeat. Producer: Jayne Egerton...

The Religious Right in the US
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 ...


Black music cultures in London
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:...

Thrift
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...

Time
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...


Disasters
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 e...

Immortality - transhumanism
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 Egert...

Immortality - transhumanism
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 Egert...


Cool
'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 sig...

23/10/2019
New research on how society works....

Serial killers
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...


Estates
Council estates: Laurie Taylor talks to Insa Lee Koch, Associate Professor in Anthropology at LSE, and author of a new study which explores the history of housing estates and the everyday lives 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, Professor of Urban Geo...

Land and territory
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...

War in the air
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....


Engineers of Jihad. Orange jumpsuits
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 ...

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...

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 preda...


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 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 Assoc...

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 rela...

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 ...


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

Erving Goffman - a special programme
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...

Walter Benjamin - a special programme on his work and influence
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 Ger...


Conspiracy theories
Conspiracy theories: Laurie Taylor talks to Thomas Konda, Professor of Political Science at SUNY, Plattsburgh, about the history and changing nature of conspiracy theories. Why have such wild theories overrun America? Also, Hugo Leal, Methods Fellow at the University of Cambridge discusses the most comprehensive examination of conspiracy theories ever conducted. About 11,500 people were surveyed in a study covered nine countries - the US, Britain (excluding Northern Ireland), Poland, Italy, France, Germany...

No-Go Zones and Dangerous Holidays
Laurie Taylor discusses the complex relationship between danger, travel and tourism. Ruben Andersson asks whether Western powers should reconsider their treatment of some no-go zones and move away from a politics fired by fear. How can we best calculate the risks of visiting countries where there is the possibility of unrest or worse? Debbie Lisle turns the lens on tourism in areas of conflict and considers what happens when soldiers become tourists and tourists enter war zones. Producers: Natal...

Detective fiction - homicide and social media
Detecting the social – how the changing nature of crime stories illuminates shifts in society. Also, homicide confessions on social media. What does it mean when killers confess online? Laurie Taylor is joined by Mary Evans, Emeritus Professor of Sociology at the LSE and Elizabeth Yardley, director of the Centre for Applied Criminology at Birmingham City University. Producer: Jayne Egerton...


Branding
Branding: Laurie Taylor explores the 'persuasion industries' and their role in creating modern consumer society. How has their use of an emotional model of brand communication, whether in political campaigning or product advertising, transformed our understanding of the rational consumer? He's joined by Steven McKevitt, Visiting Professor in Brand Communication, at Leeds Beckett University. Also, how 'branding' can desensitize far right consumers to extremist ideas. Cynthia Miller-Idriss, Associate Profes...

Kitsch - Cute
Cute and kitsch - Simon May, visiting professor of philosophy at King’s College London, explores cuteness and its immense hold on us, from emojis and fluffy puppies to its more uncanny, subversive expressions. Also, the changing significance of kitsch, from garden gnomes to Eurotrash. Ruth Holliday, Professor of Gender and Culture at the University of Leeds, suggests that judgements of taste have shifted ground rather than relaxed. They’re joined by the cultural critic, Peter York. This programme was firs...

Debt
Debt: we live in a culture of credit with a dramatic surge in private borrowing due to wage stagnation over several decades. Many people will now be indebted until death. Johnna Montgomerie,Reader in International Political Economy King's College London, tells Laurie Taylor why she proposes the abolition of household debt in the context of a chronically dysfunctional situation, both individually and collectively. Also, the story of the National Debt. Martin Slater, Emeritus Fellow in Economics at the Unive...


Spectacular Cities
Spectacular urbanisation: The world’s tallest building is in Dubai and the 2022 World Cup in soccer will be played in fabulous Qatar facilities. But what role do the sensational cities of the Arabian Peninsula play in urban development across the Earth? Laurie Taylor talks to Harvey Molotch, Professor of Sociology at New York University and to Davide Ponzini , Associate Professor of Urban Planning at Politecnico di Milano, Italy. Also, Natalie Koch, Associate Professor of Geography at Syracuse Universit...

Corridors
Corridors: We spend our lives moving through hallways and corridors, yet these channelling spaces do not feature in architectural histories. They are overlooked and undervalued. Laurie talks to Roger Luckhurst, Professor of Modern Literature at Birkbeck, University of London, whose new book charts the origins and meaning of the corridor, from country houses and utopian communities in the eighteenth centuries, through reformist Victorian prisons to the "corridors of power," as well as their often fearful de...

Snobbery
Snobbery is defined as the behaviour or attitude of people who think they are better than others. Laurie Taylor explores the social history, meaning and changing nature of this sense of superiority. He talks to David Morgan, Emeritus Professor of Sociology at the University of Manchester, Bev Skeggs, Professor of Sociology at the LSE and Florence Sutcliffe Braithwaite, Lecturer in 20th Century History at University College, London. Producer: Jayne Egerton...


Walls
Walls: A social history of the human made barrier which has divided people into those who should be kept safe and those who should be excluded. From Hadrian’s Wall and the Great Wall of China to the Berlin Wall. Laurie Taylor talks to David Frye, Professor of History at Eastern Connecticut University and Wendy Pullan, Professor of Architecture and Urban Studies at the University of Cambridge....

Motorbikes
Motorbikes: Born to be wild. Randy McBee, Professor of Labor and Social History at the Texas Tech University, considers the rise of the American Motorcyclist from its largely working-class roots to the growth in "outlaw" motorcycle culture in the 1950s through to the development of the motorcycle rights movement of the 1960s and the emergence of the rich urban biker more recently. What impact has the 'biker' had on American culture and politics? He's joined by Esperanza Miyake, Lecturer in Digital Medi...

The Class Ceiling
The Class Ceiling: Why it pays to be privileged. Drawing on four in-depth case studies – acting, accountancy, architecture and television – Sam Friedman, Associate Professor in Sociology at the LSE, argues that the ‘class ceiling’ in the elite professions can only be partially attributed to conventional measures of ‘merit’. Instead, he suggests that more powerful drivers include the misrecognition of classed self-presentation as ‘talent’ and the affordances of the ‘Bank of Mum and Dad’. He's joined by Lo...


The changing middle classes
The global middle classes: How is the middle class expanding, changing or shrinking in different contexts? Laurie Taylor looks at the rise of the Chinese middle class, as well as the evolution of the African American middle class. He's joined by Bart Landry, Emeritus Professor of Sociology at the University of Maryland and Ying Miao, Lecturer in Politics at Aston University. Producer: Jayne Egerton...

Migrants - Refugees
Migrants and refugees: Laurie Taylor explores the historical and contemporary realities of the marooned, unhomed and displaced peoples of the world. Today's refugee 'crisis' has its origins in the political–and imaginative–history of the last century. Exiles from other places have often caused trouble for ideas about sovereignty, law and nationhood. Lyndsey Stonebridge, Professor of Humanities and Human Rights at the University of Birmingham, charts the changing meaning of exile. Also, how do the lives of m...

Work - what is it good for?
Work: What is it good for? Laurie Taylor presents a special programme which takes a provocative look at work as a cultural norm. Josh Cohen, Professor of Modern Literary Theory at Goldsmiths, University of London, considers the joys of inertia - of being rather than doing; Andrea Komlosy, Professor in the Department of Economics and Social History at the University of Vienna, probes the debate about work as burdensome toil versus work as creative expression and Anthony Lloyd, Senior Lecturer in Criminology ...


Identity
Identity: Laurie Taylor presents a special programme exploring the ways in which we define ourselves and gain a sense of belonging – from race, religion and nationality to membership of a subcultural tribe. He talks to Kwame Anthony Appiah, Professor of Philosophy and Law at New York University, and author of a new book which takes issues with fixed notions of identity; Carrie Dunn, author of a study of female football fandom and Karl Spracklen, Professor of Music, Leisure and Culture at Leeds Beckett Unive...

White Power Movement in US - Rise of Racist Right in Europe
The White Power Movement in the US: Laurie Taylor talks to Kathleen Belew, Assistant Professor of US History at the University of Chicago, and author of a new book which traces the origins and development of the racist far right. They're joined by Liz Fekete, Director of the Institute of Race Relations, who discusses her study of similar (and different) forces in Europe. Producer: Jayne Egerton...

Night-time Economy
The Night-time Economy: Laurie Taylor talks to Adam Eldridge, Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Westminster, about the origins and changing nature of the after dark economy. They're joined by Emily Nicholls, Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Portsmouth and author of a new, Newcastle based study into the phenomenon of the 'girls night out'. How do young women negotiate friendships, flirtations and fun on a night out with mates? Producer: Jayne Egerton...


Architecture and health
Architecture, housing and health. Laurie Taylor explores a neglected aspect of well being. He's joined by the writer, Iain Sinclair, Daryl Martin, Lecturer in Sociology at the University of York and Christine Murray, founder of the “Women in Architecture” Awards. Producer: Jayne Egerton...

Shoes
Shoes: Laurie Taylor explores their cultural history and sociological meanings. He's joined by Elizabeth Semmelhack, Senior Curator of the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto, Tim Edwards, Honorary Fellow in Sociology at the University of Leicester and Naomi Braithwaite, Senior Lecturer in the School of Art & Design at Nottingham Trent University. Producer: Jayne Egerton...

White Privilege - Racial Ambiguity
Racial ambiguity in America: Lisa Kingstone, Senior Teaching Fellow in Race and Identity at Kings College, London, asks what happens to a country that was built on race when the boundaries of black and white have started to fade. She’s joined by the writer, Bidisha. Also, what is meant by white privilege? Kalwant Bhopal, Professorial Research Fellow at the University of Birmingham, discusses her new study. Producer: Jayne Egerton...


Maps and Postcodes
Maps and postcodes. Is there such a thing as a predictive postcode? Can it reveal more about us than our bank account, ethnicity or social class? Laurie Taylor poses the question to Roger Burrows, Professor of Cities at Newcastle University. Also, Mapping Society - Laura Vaughan, Professor of Urban Form and Society at the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL, examines how maps not only serve as historical records of social enquiry, but also reveal the ways in which difference and inequality are etched deepl...

Rich Russians - Millionaire tax flight
Rich Russians: Laurie Taylor talks to Elisabeth Schimpfossl, Lecturer in Sociology at Aston University, about her study of the changing nature of the Russian elite, from oligarchs to bourgeoisie. Also, millionaire tax flight - myth or reality? Cristobal Young, Associate Professor of Sociology at Cornell University, suggests that location is surprisingly important to the rich. Producer: Jayne Egerton...

Palaces for the People
Palaces for the People: can social infrastructure fight inequality and the decline in civic life? Laurie Taylor talks to the American sociologist, Eric Klinenberg. They’re joined by Kate Pahl, Professor of Arts and Literacy at Manchester Metropolitan University and Katie Williams, Director of the Centre for Sustainable Planning and Environments at the University of the West of England. Producer: Jayne Egerton...


Push Buttons
Push Buttons: Laurie Taylor explores the pleasure, panic and the politics of pushing. The touch of a finger can summon a taxi, turn on a TV, call for an elevator or 'like' a Facebook post. But are buttons simply neutral and natural mechanisms which ease our daily lives? He's joined by Rachel Plotnick, Assistant Professor of Cinema and Media Studies at Indiana University, Steven Connor, Professor of English at the University of Cambridge and Barbara Speed, Acting Managing Editor at the i newspaper. Revised ...

Creativity
Creativity - has it become the meaningless buzz word for our times? Oli Mould, Lecturer in Human Geography at Royal Holloway, University of London, delivers a broadside against the injunction to 'be creative' and the 'creative economy' itself. He's joined by David Hesmondhalgh, Professor of Media, Music and Culture and Eliza Easton, Principal Policy Researcher in the Creative Economy and Data Analytics team at Nesta. Producer: Jayne Egerton...

Post-Truth
Post-Truth – Laurie Taylor explores a very modern phenomenon, or is it? He’s joined by Steve Fuller, Professor of Sociology at the University of Warwick, Helen Pluckrose, Editor of Areo, a digital magazine focused on Enlightenment liberalism and Andrew Chadwick, Professor of Political Communication at Loughborough University. Producer: Jayne Egerton...


Drifters
Drifters: What place does the train hopping hobo have in working class history and the popular imagination? The travelling vagrant is a figure, at once romantic and pitiable, associated with the freedom of the open road, but also with destitution. How linked were drifting communities to a specifically American form of capitalism, one which demanded transient labour? Laurie Taylor takes a cross cultural and historical look a life of uncertain mobility, from America to Britain, and explores its contemporary e...

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....

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....


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 ...

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...

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 ...


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....