300 episodes

New research on how society works

Thinking Allowed BBC

    • Science
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New research on how society works

    CEO Society - Time Management

    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

    • 27 min
    Au pairing and domestic labour

    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 changed in the decades since it was published.

    Also, Rosie Cox discusses her co-authored study of au pairing in the twenty first century, As an Equal? Drawing on detailed research, the book examines the lives of au pairs and the families who host them in contemporary Britain, arguing that au pairing has become increasingly indistinguishable from other forms of domestic labour. Revised repeat.

    Producer: Alice Bloch

    • 28 min
    Surveillance

    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 property. Social media allow us to keep tabs on others, as well as on ourselves. Laurie Taylor explores the contemporary culture of surveillance. He's joined by Kirstie Ball, Professor of Management at the University of St Andrews, and David Lyon, Professor in the Department of Sociology at Queen's University, Canada. Revised repeat.

    Producer: Jayne Egerton

    • 28 min
    The Politics of Memorials

    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 controversies which lurk behind the placid facades of historical markers. Dave Tell, Professor of Communication Studies at the University of Kansas, analyses the various ways that this landmark event in the civil rights movement has been commemorated. Also, Margaret O’Callaghan, Reader in History, Queen’s University Belfast, discusses commemoration in the context of Irish history. How has the marking of the Easter Rising shifted over time? What roles are played by memorials in any society? And what forces dictate what gets remembered and what is forgotten? Revised repeat.

    Producer: Jayne Egerton

    • 26 min
    Skateboarding - Parkour

    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 capitalism. Revised repeat.

    Producer: Jayne Egerton

    • 25 min
    Metrics

    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 which we risk compromising the quality of our lives and most important institutions. He is also joined by Btihaj Ajana, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Digital Humanities at King's College London, who, in the introduction to the book, Metric Culture - Ontologies of Self-Tracking Practices, explains the concept of the 'Quantified Self Movement' - whose philosophy is 'self-knowledge through numbers'.

    With such a plethora of personal information about ourselves being generated daily are we complicit in creating a culture of surveillance with the blurring of boundaries between the private and public? Stefan Collini, Professor of Intellectual History and English Literature at the University of Cambridge, joins the discussion. Revised repeat.

    Producer Natalia Fernandez

    • 27 min

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