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Thinking Allowed

Normalizing Dirty Work - Fenian Diaspora

BBC Radio 4
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30 minutes Available for over a year First broadcast:

How do those tackling society's dirtiest jobs make their occupations seem more palatable?

Mortuary worker, sewer engineer, sex worker, refuse collector… how do the people who do society's dirtiest jobs manage to make their occupations seem more palatable?

NORMALIZING DIRTY WORK

Laurie Taylor is joined by Professor Blake Ashforth, Rusty Lyon Chair in Strategy in the W.P. Carey School of Business, Arizona State University and co-author of Normalizing Dirty Work: Managerial Tactics for Countering Occupational Taint, a research study which looked at how 54 managers, in 18 ‘dirty work’ occupations in America, utilise a series of social tactics to ‘normalise’ the social stigma attached to their occupation. They discuss how workers, who are employed in a dirty occupation, are able to retain a relatively high occupational self esteem and pride.

FENIAN DIASPORA

Dr Gerry Kearns, Senior Lecturer in Geography at the University of Cambridge talks about his current research into the Irish abroad and their effect upon terrorist activities at home during the late 19th century.  Dr Kearns examines the ‘Fenian Diaspora’ to look for the mechanisms that underlie relationships between emigrants and nationalist conflicts at home.

Thinking Allowed

Migration in China

BBC Radio 4
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30 minutes Available for over a year First broadcast:

Laurie Taylor and guests look at the social cost of China's vast economic expansion.

Laurie Taylor and a panel of experts look at the social cost of China's vast economic expansion. Some 200 million migrant workers are moving great distances in order to find work.

MIGRATION IN CHINA

China now possesses the fourth largest economy in the world and it is set to become the world’s second biggest within 10 years. The boom cities along the country’s Eastern Coast are drawing huge numbers of people from the countryside in a migration of unprecedented scale.  Now it is estimated that 200 million people, a quarter of the country’s workforce is counted as China’s ‘floating population’. Because of the peculiarities of China’s household registration system these migrants do not have access to schools, hospitals or other aspects of state care and the protests are growing every year.  They are second class citizens with the potential to create massive disharmony within the Chinese state. Can the situation be sustained? Can the Chinese economy continue its miraculous growth without the granting of democratic or other human rights to its population? Laurie is joined by Caroline Hoy who has conducted fieldwork on internal migration in China; Fulong Wu, Professor of East Asian Planning and Director of the Urban China Research Centre at Cardiff University; Will Hutton, who recently published his book entitled The Writing on the Wall: China in the 21st Century and Professor Nigel Harris, author of The New Untouchables: Immigration and the New World Worker.

Thinking Allowed

Work Place Violence - War Reporting

BBC Radio 4
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30 minutes Available for over a year First broadcast:

Laurie Taylor explores violence in the work place and examines how we perceive war.

Laurie Taylor explores the impacts of violence in the work place with Prof. PJ Waddington and examines the perceptions and realities of war with Frank Webster and Christina Lamb.

WORK PLACE VIOLENCE

Is workplace violence an escalating problem?  Some statistics make grim reading especially over the last seven to eight years? But according to the British Crime Survey, it is still quite low, just 1.7% of the working population will be a victim of workplace violence.  Peter (Tank) Waddington, Professor of Social Policy, at the University of Wolverhampton has just published new research using forensic or police interviewing techniques and talks about its findings.

WAR REPORTING

In a few days, Frank Webster, Department of Sociology, City University, London will present a paper entitled Campaigning in a changing Information Environment The Anti-War and Peace Movement in Britain and New Media at the BSA 2007 Conference. Laurie Taylor is joined by Frank Webster, who argues that there is an unprecedented battle underway over the perceptions and realities of war, and award wining foreign correspondent Christina Lamb to discuss whether a state’s attempts to control information are being defeated by a ‘new information environment’.

Thinking Allowed

Does Europe Hate America? - Tourist TV

BBC Radio 4
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30 minutes Available for over a year First broadcast:

Laurie Taylor considers anti-American attitudes in Europe and TV holiday destinations.

Laurie Taylor considers the growth of the anti-American attitude in Western Europe and explores how the democratisation of travel has affected TV holiday programmes.

DOES EUROPE HATE AMERICA?

It is claimed that American foreign policy during the Bush Presidency has lead to an enormous growth in anti-American feeling across Western Europe, and that people are reacting against the influence of American culture.   Are the claims true? Laurie Taylor is joined by Professor Andrei S. Markovits author of Uncouth Nation: Why Europe Dislikes America, a study of attitudes across Western Europe and Aurore Wanlin, Research Fellow at the Centre for European Reform. They discuss the history of anti Americanism and debate the future for relations between Europe and America, as Europe becomes extended and possibly more closely united.

TOURIST TV

This year BBC 1’s Holiday programme is ending after 36 years of broadcasting.  Dr David Dunn talks about his new research entitled Singular Encounters – Mediating the tourist destination in British Television Holiday Programmes in Tourism Studies which looks at how the ‘democratization of travel’ has forced changes in TV travel programmes.

Thinking Allowed

British Constitution - Anciet Rome and Modern America

BBC Radio 4
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30 minutes Available for over a year First broadcast:
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Laurie Taylor hears how the 'political party' is out of date & Roman politics in the US?

Leading constitutional expert Vernon Bogdanor tells Laurie Taylor that the age of the mass political party is over, but it still rules in our system of government.

Leading constitutional expert Vernon Bogdanor tells Laurie Taylor that the age of the mass political party is over, but it still rules in our system of government.

Mass political parties started in the 1870s as a response to the advent of mass suffrage. 50 years ago, nearly one in ten people belonged to a party; it has now declined to one in 88, yet they still have a huge role in administering power in our democracy. It is that anomaly which constitutional expert Vernon Bogdanor claims lies behind the frustration and disillusionment that so many people feel towards our political system. He discusses his book, The New British Constitution, with Laurie.

Also, why is the idea of Rome so powerful in the American imagination? How is Roman politics used to play the political game in the US? Laurie talks to Margaret Malamud, author of Ancient Rome and Modern America.

Thinking Allowed

The Meaning of Work

BBC Radio 4
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28 minutes Available for over a year First broadcast:
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The meaning of work: how has it shifted and evolved over time?

The meaning of work: Laurie Taylor explores the its shifting and evolving meanings over time, from hunter gathering to the contemporary ‘pop up’ economy.

The anthropologist, James Suzman, explores the shifting meaning of work, and argues that for 95% of our species' history, it held a radically different importance – it did not determine social status, mould our values or dictate how we spent most of our time. How did it become the central organisational principle of our societies and is it time for a dramatic re-think?

Also, Ella Harris, Leverhulme Fellow in the Geography department at Birkbeck, University of London, examines ‘pop up culture’. Temporary or nomadic sites such as cinemas, supper clubs and container malls are now ubiquitous in cities across the world. But what are the stakes of the 'pop-up' city? Has economic insecurity and precarity been re-branded as desirable and exciting?

Presenter Laurie Taylor

Producer Jayne Egerton

Thinking Allowed

Playboy - Celebrity politics

BBC Radio 4
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30 minutes Available for over a year First broadcast:
Latest broadcast:

Is Playboy "an unlikely ally for the feminist cause"? Also, celebrity politics.

A new history of Playboy claims it is 'an unlikely ally for the feminist cause', Laurie Taylor discusses secrets and surprises of the bunny brand. Also, celebrity politics.

Carrie Pitzulo, the author of a new history of Playboy claims it has "a surprisingly strong record of support for women's rights and the modernisation of sexual and gender roles". Are Bunny Girls and Playmates of the Month really allies of the feminist cause? Laurie is joined by the author Carrie Pitzulo and the sociologist Angela McRobbie to discuss the secret and surprises of the bunny brand.

Also, why do young people trust popular entertainers more than politicians? Sanna Inthorn discusses her new research into celebrity politics.

Producer: Charlie Taylor.

Thinking Allowed

Gender Voting - Revolution

BBC Radio 4
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30 minutes Available for over a year First broadcast:
Latest broadcast:

Laurie Taylor explores whether revolutions are violently bad or just misunderstood.

Viva la Revolution? Laurie Taylor explores whether revolutions are violent and abhorrent or glorious and misunderstood with Mike Haynes and professor David Wootton.

GENDER VOTING

Rosie Campbell, Lecturer in Research Methods at Birkbeck College, University of London, discusses her research into masculine and feminine perspectives on politics, and the different ways in which men and women evaluate the policies put forward by the political parties.

REVOLUTION

George Bernard Shaw said that “revolutions have never lightened the burden of tyranny: they have only shifted it to another shoulder” and the French Revolution with its guillotines, The Terror and finally Napoleon would seem to give the argument strength – as would Stalin in Russian.  But are we doing revolution a disservice?  Is it outsiders and counter-revolutionaries that cause all the problems? Laurie Taylor talks to Mike Haynes, the author of a new study which claims that revolutions are a useful and inevitable engine of social progress and to David Wootton, Professor of History at the University of York.  The English Revolution brought parliamentary sovereignty and the French revolution lead – eventually – to the abolition of slavery.  Are revolutions violent and abhorrent or glorious and misunderstood?

BBC Radio 4
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30 minutes Available for over a year First broadcast:
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Laurie Taylor explores national branding and the commodification of ethnic identity.

The way countries are seen worldwide has a huge effect on their power and prosperity. Laurie Taylor explores national branding and the commodification of ethnic identity.

How does a country's international reputation affect its economy and its political power? The diplomatic advisor Simon Anholt says it is extremely important, and takes great pains to measure national PR. Each year he publishes an index which ranks 50 countries in terms of their reputation. He tells Laurie Taylor who is at the top and who languishes at the bottom, and why.

Ethno-theme parks, Native American casinos and Kalahari bushmen attempting to reap profits from pharmaceutical companies using their traditional medicinal plants: all modern examples of how ethnic identity has become a commodity in today's global market place. John and Jean Comaroff explore how communities sell their traditional culture in their new book, Ethnicity Inc. They tell Laurie about the effect it has on indigenous cultures, and how selling your identity can be both empowering and impoverishing.

BBC Radio 4
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30 minutes Available for over a year First broadcast:
Latest broadcast:

The secret history of the servant and the working class at Oxbridge.

The servant's story is a hidden history. Laurie Taylor discusses new research on the experience of servitude in the 18th century. Also, the working class at elite universities.

Fetching water, cleaning knives, shovelling out a privy, setting fires - how did servants make sense of the tough menial duties in the 18th-century home? During that time they made up the largest occupational group in the British state, and the historian Caroline Steedman argues that servants' resentments and personal philosophies had a huge impact on the development of the English character and the British nation state. Laurie Taylor discusses a neglected corner of social history with Caroline Steedman and Amanda Vickery.

Laurie also hears about the working class at Britain's elite universities; Diane Reay tells him about her research into state-educated working-class children studying at Oxbridge.

Thinking Allowed

Prostitution in the Community; Drinking and Moderation

BBC Radio 4
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28 minutes Available for over a year First broadcast:
Latest broadcast:

Laurie Taylor explores the impact of sex work on local residents and businesses.

Laurie Taylor explores the impact of sex work on local residents and businesses. Also, changing definitions of drinking in 'moderation'.

Prostitution in the community: The criminologist, Sarah Kingston, discusses her study of the impact of sex work on local residents and businesses. Policies restricting sex work are often based on assumptions about the alleged negative effects of commercial sex on everyday lives. This is the first comprehensive text to examine the empirical basis of this assumption. How do neighbourhoods react to the presence of prostitutes and male clients in their areas? Do stereotypes of stigma and deviance mean that residents will always wish to move this 'problem' elsewhere.

Also, the sociologist, Henry Yeomans, charts the fluid, ever changing definitions of 'moderate' alcohol consumption.

Producer: Jayne Egerton.

Thinking Allowed

Elite Graduates in France and UK; Surnames and Social Mobility

BBC Radio 4
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28 minutes Available for over a year First broadcast:
Latest broadcast:

Laurie Taylor asks how much of our fate is tied to our parents' and grandparents' status.

Laurie Taylor asks how much of our fate is tied to the status of our parents and grandparents. Also, elite graduates in France and Britain.

Surnames and social mobility - How much of our fate is tied to the status of our parents and grandparents? Laurie Taylor talks to Gregory Clark, Professor of Economics at the University of California, Davis, about movement up the social ladder over 8 centuries, from medieval England to modern Sweden. Using a unique methodology, Professor Clark tracked family names to assess social mobility across diverse eras and societies. His conclusion is that mobility rates are less than are often estimated and are resistant to social policies. It may take hundreds of years for descendants to move beyond inherited advantages, as well as disadvantages. He's joined by Andrew Miles, Reader in Sociology at the CRESC, University of Manchester and author of the only systematic study of historical social mobility in the UK.

Also, elite graduates and global ambition. Sally Power, Professorial Fellow at the School of Social Sciences at Cardiff University, talks about a comparative study which finds that British students from top universities seek worldwide opportunities, whereas their French counterparts wish to 'serve' France. In theory, globalization has dissolved national borders and loyalties, so why do elite students from France and England have such strikingly different visions of their future?

Producer: Torquil Macleod.

Thinking Allowed

Softer masculinity in the sixth form - Dr Who

BBC Radio 4
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30 minutes Available for over a year First broadcast:
Latest broadcast:

Is Doctor Who political? Laurie explores the notion of an historical anti-American bias.

Is Doctor Who Anti-American? US academic Marc Edward DiPaolo on his political analysis of five decades of the time-traveller. Also, new research on schoolboys getting less macho.

The Daleks are obsessed with racial purity and dedicated to a policy of genocide: they represent the Nazis. The Jagrafess is a loathsome alien purveying useless information - which he has censored, rewritten and controlled: he represents a modern day media mogul. This is the theory of the US academic Marc Edward DiPaolo who has analysed the political content of five decades of Doctor Who. He finds that the Time Lord is a liberal, bohemian, pacifist environmentalist, and definitely anti-American. Is Doctor Who a closet radical? Laurie and Marc discuss the contention with journalist, broadcaster and some-time Dr Who script-writer Matthew Sweet.

Also on the programme: Softening Masculinities. New research by Mark McCormac finds that British secondary school boys are far less restrictive in their behaviour than they used to be. It is okay to use conditioner, comment on someone's clothes, and even give each other a hug.

Thinking Allowed

Russian Children in Custody - Paranormal Media

BBC Radio 4
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30 minutes Available for over a year First broadcast:
Latest broadcast:

Laurie Taylor explores representations of the paranormal; Russian youngsters in custody.

Why is modern media teeming with vampires, witches, ghosts and ghouls? Laurie Taylor explores representations of the paranormal. Also, how Russia deals with criminal youngsters.

Thinking Allowed

Taxis and GPS Surveillance - Dancers' Bodies

BBC Radio 4
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30 minutes Available for over a year First broadcast:
Latest broadcast:

Laurie Taylor discusses the GPS Surveillance for Taxis and ballet body problems.

Laurie Taylor discusses the new GPS Surveillance equipment attached to Philadelphia Taxis and explores the how much damage ballet can cause to a dancers body.

TAXIS and GPS SURVEILLANCE

Laurie Taylor talks to Sociologist Beverley Geesin about her research in Philadelphia, a city where, in a unique trial all taxis are compelled to have satellite navigation. The state authorities call it a ‘technology enhancement project’ promising greater efficiency for passengers. But what about the social impact upon taxicab drivers themselves, as the satellite system constantly monitors their whereabouts.  Is this a case of workplace surveillance going to far?  Philadelphia taxicab drivers seem to think so and a new phenomenon of ‘resistance to workplace surveillance’ is now emerging.

DANCERS’ BODIES

“Ballet dancers, their bodies and suffering for their art”.  Professor Anna Aalten is author of an article entitled Listening to the dancer’s body and she debates with the ballet dancer Deborah Bull whether the motto No Gain Without Pain has problematic associations in the world of pirouettes. Does the ballet world encourage a dangerous attitude towards physical pain, or does pain help the dancers attune themselves to the limits of their bodies?

Thinking Allowed

Resource Nationalism - Democratising Fashion

BBC Radio 4
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30 minutes Available for over a year First broadcast:

Laurie Taylor discusses how ‘Resource Nationalism’ affects foreign affairs policy.

The proposed Iran/India gas pipeline has become a new concern of foreign affairs; Dr Warwick Knowles discusses the policy implication of ‘Resource Nationalism’ for the West.

RESOURCE NATIONALISM

The proposed Iran/India gas pipeline has become a new concern of foreign affairs. Dr Warwick Knowles, Senior Economist at Dunn & Bradstreet and author of a forthcoming paper entitled Politics of Pipeline Placement explains the rise of ‘Resource Nationalism’ and its policy implications for Western Democracies and their companies.

DEMOCRATISING FASHION

In the 1920s Marks and Spencer introduced styles and designs to the high street, bringing quality clothes to the masses. But can it be called fashion? Laurie Taylor is joined by Dr Rachel Worth author of a new study of the history of M&S fashion and cultural analyst Martin Raymond to discuss the unique history of Marks and Spencer’s clothing. Did the company democratise fashion or put an end to the original working class style? And how did it position itself to embody the values of Britain in the middle of the twentieth century?

Thinking Allowed

'Lad culture' in higher education - Fugitives from the law in Philadelphia

BBC Radio 4
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28 minutes Available for over a year First broadcast:
Latest broadcast:

Laurie Taylor explores the lives of African-American men caught up in webs of criminality.

Laurie Taylor explores the lives of African-American men caught up in webs of criminality in Philadelphia and looks at lad culture in higher education in the UK.

Fugitives from the law: Laurie Taylor talks to Alice Goffman, Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, about 'On the Run' her study of the lives of African American men caught up in webs of criminality in Philadelphia. She spent six years living in a neighbourhood marked by pervasive policing, violence and poverty. She argues that high tech surveillance and arrest quotas have done little to reduce crime or support young lives in the most disadvantaged parts of the US. They're joined by Professor Dick Hobbs, Criminologist at the University of Essex. Also, Alison Phipps, Director of the Centre for Gender Studies at the University of Sussex, explores the rise of 'lad culture' in Higher Education and its relationship to the 'marketisation' of learning.

Producer: Jayne Egerton.

BBC Radio 4
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30 minutes Available for over a year First broadcast:
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Laurie Taylor explores new ideas about Utopia.

Laurie Taylor talks to Professor's Russell Jacoby, Ash Amin and Barbara Graziosi and The Bishop of Whitby, Martin Warner, about imagining 'utopia' in the 21st century.

Laurie Taylor talks to Professor Russell Jacoby, Professor Ash Amin, Professor Barbara Graziosi and The Bishop of Whitby, Martin Warner, about whether we can imagine 'utopia' in the 21st century. In an age that some describe as filled with anxiety and uncertainty, are we breeding a kind of fatalism towards the future that excludes any notion of utopia? How indeed might we define and describe utopia? Can utopian ideas be not only practical and pragmatic but also democratic? When considering utopia where does religious faith and thinking intertwine with the secular world? Can we even talk about commonly held utopian ideals or are we condemned to imagine utopia only as fantasy, as an intellectual or artistic excerise that is, ultimately, futile.

producer. Chris Wilson.

Thinking Allowed

Cuban Cure - Moral Panics

BBC Radio 4
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30 minutes Available for over a year First broadcast:
Latest broadcast:

Laurie explores Cuba's success in developing world-beating bioscience. Also moral panics.

Laurie explores the extraordinary story of science in Cuba, asking how an embargoed, socialist, developing-world country developed a world class biotech industry.

With the huge investment needed and patents which have the potential to generate a lot of money, biochemistry is perhaps the most capitalistic strain of science. How did Cuba - a socialist, embargoed, isolated, developing world country - manage to become one of the world's leaders in genetic modification and bioscience? Laurie talks to Simon Reid Henry, Lecturer in Geography at Queen Mary London about his new book The Cuban Cure; Reason and Resistance in Global Science.

Also on the programme - 'moral panics'. The phrase was first defined by Stan Cohen in an analysis of the reaction to Mods and Rockers fighting on Britain's beaches. Since then it has been used many times by social scientists to describe media reaction to everything from dangerous dogs to binge drinking, but how useful is the term? Does it falsely imply that there is no underlying reason for social concern? Laurie discusses the uses and abuses of the notion of moral panic with Chas Critcher, Emeritus Professor of Communications at Sheffield Hallam University and Jewel Thomas, Post Graduate Researcher, Oxford University.

Producer: Charlie Taylor.

Thinking Allowed

'Over by Christmas' - Race, Sport and Politics

BBC Radio 4
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30 minutes Available for over a year First broadcast:
Latest broadcast:

Laurie explores race and sport, also why people thought WW1 would be over by Christmas.

What created the stereotype of the naturally gifted black athlete? Laurie discusses race and sport. Also, why did people say WWI would be over by Christmas?

When Jack Johnson became heavy-weight champion of the world and then knocked out the 'Great White Hope' Jim Jeffries in 1910, riots and celebrations broke out throughout the United States. Black people had a champion who stood as the finest man in the world, and many white people saw that as an image which threatened their supremacy. In sporting terms the image of the black athlete was forged, a hyper-masculine individual characterised by aggression and defined by physicality. Laurie is joined by Ben Carrington, author of Race, Sport and Politics, and the sociologist Brett St Louis to discuss the complex history of that stereotype. An image which has been both to the benefit and also to the great detriment of black people.

Also on the programme, Stuart Hallifax discusses why it was that people said that the First World War would be over by Christmas and whether they truly believed it.

Producer: Charlie Taylor.

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