300 episodes

New research on how society works

Thinking Allowed BBC

    • Science
    • 4.4 • 583 Ratings

New research on how society works

    Blackface - Minstrelsy

    Blackface - Minstrelsy

    BLACKFACE & MINSTRELSY - At its most basic level, 'blackface' is the application of any prosthetic to imitate the complexion of another race. In theory, it's a performance available to all, yet 'whiteface' is relatively unknown. Laurie Taylor talks to Ayanna Thompson, Regents Professor of English at Arizona State University, about the painful history of ‘blackface’, an ancient European theatrical device that the Europeans brought with them to America. What connects it to Blackface minstrelsy, a specific comedic performance tradition rooted in slavery, and why does this racist practice endure today?

    Also, Christine Grandy, Associate Professor in History at the University of Lincoln, discusses the origins of the British Black and White Minstrel Show, a prime time, BBC variety programme which lasted for 20 years, from 1958-1978. She uncovers a little known history in which broadcasters, the press, and audience members collectively argued that the show had nothing to do with race whilst the complaints and anger of Black people were dismissed. Thinking Allowed is produced in partnership with the Open University.

    Producer: Jayne Egerton

    • 29 min
    Perfume

    Perfume

    PERFUME: What’s the connection between perfume & politics in the 20th century and how do scents become invested with meaning? Laurie Taylor talks to Professor Karl Schloegel, Chair of East European History at the European University Viadrina in Frankfurt, and author of a new study which examines contemporary history through the prism of two scents – Moscow Red and Chanel No 5. They’re joined by Karen Cerulo, Professor of Sociology at Rutgers University, who asks how individuals make sense of certain fragrances and correctly decode perfume manufacturers’ intended message and target users. To what extent do our every day readings of scent produce a world bound by class and race? Thinking Allowed is produced in partnership with the Open University.

    Producer: Jayne Egerton

    • 29 min
    The Rural Idyll?

    The Rural Idyll?

    The Rural Idyll? Last year the National Trust produced a controversial report which revealed that 93 of its properties have direct links to colonialism and slavery. In this programme, Laurie Taylor talks to Corinne Fowler, Professor of Post Colonial Literature at the University of Leicester, whose new study engages directly with this painful history, uncovering the countryside’s repressed colonial past and its relationship to notions of Englishness. How have pastoral mythologies in English literature served to erase the story of Empire? In what ways do contemporary writers of colour offer a challenge to uncritical celebrations of our 'green and pleasant' land? They’re joined by Paul Readman, Professor of Modern British History at King's College London, whose recent research considers the relationship between landscape and English national identity, from the rural to the urban. Thinking Allowed is produced in partnership with the Open University.

    Producer: Jayne Egerton

    • 29 min
    Life Imprisonment

    Life Imprisonment

    Life imprisonment - Why is it that such sentences were almost unheard of a generation ago and what is their impact on prisoners, as well as society? Ben Crewe, Deputy Director of the Prison Research Centre at the University of Cambridge, talks to Laurie Taylor about the largest ever sociological study of long term imprisonment conducted in Europe. Focusing on prisoners convicted of murder & serving life sentences of 15 years or more from young adulthood, it asks how they manage time, think about the future, and deal with existential issues of identity and the meaning of their lives. They’re joined by Elaine Player, Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Kings College, London, who discusses the different needs and experiences of the much smaller number of female ‘lifers’, many of whom are victims of multiple trauma & male violence, drawing on research conducted in a democratic therapeutic community in a women’s prison. Thinking Allowed is produced in partnership with the Open University.

    Producer: Jayne Egerton

    • 28 min
    The Orange Order

    The Orange Order

    The Orange Order in Northern Ireland and Scotland: Its origins, practices and principles, from the Battle of the Boyne to the Good Friday Agreement.. Laurie Taylor talks to Joseph Webster, Lecturer in the Study of Religion at the University of Cambridge, and author of a new book about the Orange Order in Scotland which explores the politics of anti Catholic sectarianism and ultra Britishness, as well as the tensions between grassroots Orangemen and a hierarchy wishing to cultivate a respectable image beyond controversial parades and football hooliganism. Also, Karine Bigand, Senior Lecturer in Irish Studies at Aix-Marseille University, considers the history of Orange politics in Northern Ireland and current attempts to memorialise the Orange Order and contribute positively to reconciliation between divided communities post the GFA in 1998. Produced in partnership with the Open University.

    Producer: Jayne Egerton

    • 27 min
    Community & Social Capital

    Community & Social Capital

    Community & social capital. Laurie Taylor talks to Robert D Putnam, Malkin Research Professor of Public Policy at Harvard University and co-author of a new study which revisits some of the themes of 'Bowling Alone' his 20 year old, groundbreaking book, which argued that Americans were losing their connections with one another. His latest research takes a look at trends over the last century which have brought us from an “I” society to a “We” society and then back again. What lessons can be drawn from the past, especially at a time of increased economic inequality, political polarisation and loss of social capital and trust, all of which are playing out against the backdrop of a global pandemic? Is it, as he suggests, time for an 'upswing', more focused on our responsibilities to each other and one which, for the first time, must properly account for the way in which racism has shaped America?

    They’re joined by Emily Falconer, Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Westminster, who considers the extent to which Robert Putnam's arguments apply to the UK. She also discusses her own research, which focuses on collective singing as a manifestation of social capital and community, in action. Her study of an Online Zoom community choir - at a time when so many face-to-face activity have disappeared - suggests that virtual, group singing has afforded deep connections between people in a landscape in which the future of social gatherings remains uncertain.

    Producer: Jayne Egerton

    Produced in partnership with The Open University

    • 29 min

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5
583 Ratings

583 Ratings

damme lorraine ,

Thinking Allowed

Serious sociological analysis and fascinating insights from research. Love Lauries relaxed interviewing style.

very funny and clever pod ,

Typical bbc

Everything is about the fAr right,nothing about the far left. Anti trump bs

allotment30 ,

Same old same old BBC

If you think the BBC is “a national treasure” you will like this programme. Indeed, I used to. But in fact it’s just typical BBC output - sneering at everything that isn’t left-liberal luvvie. I’ve had enough and am unsubscribing.

Sort it out, BBC!

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