300 episodes

New research on how society works

Thinking Allowed BBC

    • Science
    • 4.8 • 5 Ratings

New research on how society works

    Love and Romance

    Love and Romance

    LOVE & ROMANCE – Laurie Taylor unpacks different conceptions of love. He’s joined by Raksha Pande, Senior Lecturer in Social Geography at Newcastle University, whose latest research explores arranged marriages amongst people in the British-Indian diaspora. She finds that they have skilfully adapted cultural norms to carve out an identity narrative that portrays them as modern migrants offering a different take on romantic love. She’s joined by Eva Illouz, Rose Isaac Chair of Sociology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, who considers the ways in which romantic affairs in Western culture fail to spark or break up. What can ‘the end of love’ tell us about the effects of consumer culture on personal relationships?

    Producer: Jayne Egerton

    • 28 min
    Afghanistan

    Afghanistan

    Afghanistan: The lives of Afghans in Britain today and the role of corruption in the return of the Taliban. Laurie Taylor talks to Nichola Khan, Reader in Anthropology and Psychology at the University of Brighton, about her monumental study of Afghan migrants in Sussex, England, at a time when we are seeing a fresh wave of migration from their home country. Also, Sarah Chayes, former Senior Associate in the Democracy and Rule of Law Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, explores the role of political corruption in the renewed ascendency of the Taliban.

    Producer: Jayne Egerton

    • 28 min
    Office Life

    Office Life

    Office life: As more people return to the conventional workplace, Laurie Taylor talks to Craig Robertson, Associate Professor of Media Studies at Northeastern University, about a new study which charts the ‘vertical’ history of the filing cabinet and its role in capitalist modernity. Why was it advertised alongside gleaming skyscrapers & how did the logic of the cabinet come to penetrate the domestic sphere? Also, Harriet Shortt, Associate Professor in Organisation Studies at UWE, Bristol, considers the ways in which people deploy private possessions, from toys to photos, to personalise their increasingly sanitised working environments. Has Covid changed our relationship to such objects at work, as Zoom meetings have blurred the private and professional allowing us to enter our colleagues homes?

    Producer: Jayne Egerton

    • 28 min
    Cool Consumers

    Cool Consumers

    Cool Consumers: Laurie Taylor considers how music acquires the social connotations of “cool” & its implicit association with youth and outsider status. He's joined by Jo Haynes, Associate Professor in Sociology at the University of Bristol. Also, the way in which racial marketing promoted menthol cigarettes to African Americans, linking them to notions of ‘cool’, with enduringly harmful effect. Keith Wailoo, Professor of History and Public Affairs at Princeton University, unpacks a poignant and intricate story which reveals why 85% of Black smokers prefer menthol brands and how difficult it has been to ban them, not least because of the way that tobacco companies forged deep connections with Black media publishers and civil rights campaigners. He argues that the cry of 'I can't breathe' has multiple meanings in America's painful racial history.

    Producer: Jayne Egerton

    • 28 min
    The Smartphone

    The Smartphone

    The Smartphone: Nearly 90 per cent of British adults now own a smartphone and ownership among those aged 55 and over has soared from 55 per cent in 2019 to 70 per cent in 2020. Laurie Taylor explores the ways in which this ubiquitous object is transforming everyday life, from China to Ireland, & considers its impact on intimate relationships. He's joined by Daniel Miller, Professor of Anthropology at UCL and co-author of a new study involving 11 anthropologists who each spent 16 months living in communities in Africa, Asia, Europe and South America, focusing on the take up of smartphones by older people. They found that smartphones are technology for everyone, not just for the young, and are transformed by their users & national context. Also, Mark McCormack, Professor of Sociology at the University of Roehampton, considers the impact of smartphones on relationships in the UK. Are they keeping couples together when apart, and driving them apart when together?

    Producer: Jayne Egerton

    • 28 min
    Culture & privilege

    Culture & privilege

    Culture & privilege: Governments and arts organisations claim that culture brings joy to many lives and unites communities. But a new study signals a note of scepticism. Orian Brook, AHRC Creative and Digital Economy Innovation Leadership Fellow at the University of Edinburgh, talks to Laurie Taylor about the mechanism of exclusion in cultural occupations which ensures that women, people of colour, and those from working class backgrounds experience systematic disadvantage in terms of gaining such jobs, in the first place, or progressing within these industries. In addition, only a very small percentage of people in England & Wales ever go to an art gallery, the theatre or opera. Only 60% go to cinemas, even though this is seen as accessible to all. So why do so few people participate in or produce 'culture'?
    They’re joined by Dave O’Brien, Chancellor's Fellow in Cultural and Creative Industries at the University of Edinburgh, who asks why people from privileged class backgrounds often misidentify their origins as working class. Drawing on175 interviews with those working in professional and managerial occupations, he finds that such misidentification allows them to tell an upward story of career success ‘against the odds’ that casts their progression as well deserved while erasing the structural privileges that have shaped key moments in their lives.

    Producer: Jayne Egerton

    • 28 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
5 Ratings

5 Ratings

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