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July 12, 2013 / C H Thompson

Sociology alive

The following links provide you with a variety of audio links to a variety of sociological research. Such diversity highlights the breadth of the sociology 2social world sociologists continually seek to investigate.

  • THE HAIRLESS BODY – it used to be a feminist faux pas but now over 99% of women regularly remove hair from their bodies. Men are doing it too, Peter Mandelsson waxes the back of his hand and sportsmen, like Gavin Henson, shave their legs. Anneke Smelik, Professor of Visual Culture at the Department of Cultural Studies, University of Nijmegen (Netherland), tells Laurie what she thinks lies behind this war on body hair.
  • HOODIES – Laurie Taylor talks to criminologist Dr Jack Fawbert about a recent phenomenon and ensuing ‘moral panic’ generated by young people wearing hooded tops. What was it that made this simple piece of clothing into a symbol of fear? What was the effect of trying to ban ‘hoodies’ from public places? How did all the media attention affect the sales of hooded tops?
  • COOK BOOKS and IDENTITY – new research shows that people’s choice of cook books is governed by the kinds of lifestyles or ideologies that they represent rather than by the recipes and skills imparted within; it also reveals that celebrity chefs may have less to do with a food renaissance in this country and more to do with the collapse of cooking traditions within families. Laurie Taylor discusses
    celebrity cook books and Britain’s food culture with social scientist and author of the research Andrea Tonner and food critic and cultural commentator Jonathan Meades.
  • CULTURE AND GLOBALIZATION – a new collection of essays entitled Cultural Politics in a Global Age raises questions about globalisation and cultural identity. Henrietta Moore, Professor of Social Anthropology at the London School of Economics and co-editor the book talks about the resilience of such identity in the face of external threats, about the relative success of campaigns against globalisation and about the manner in which the opportunities provided by global communication can provide alternative centres of power and influence.
  • PETS AS KIN – researchers looking into people’s support groups and family networks were surprised to find that people kept mentioning their pets; twenty three per cent of the participants put their pets as part of the network of ‘people’ who helped them out. Professor Nickie Charles is co-author of a paper My Family and Other Animals. Pets as Kin; she explains the recent findings about
    the relationship between the British and their pets.
  • GHOSTS – Dr Owen Davies, Reader in Social History at the University of Hertfordshire, looked back over the opinion polls of the last fifty years which reveal a constant rise in the percentage of the British population that believes in ghosts. Owen became interested in finding out why popular belief in ghosts and the supernatural should fluctuate, and what social, economic and religious changes are responsible for our changing attitudes. His new book is The Haunted: A Social History of Ghosts
  • BOXING – Laurie Taylor is joined by Kasia Boddy, author of Boxing: A Cultural history, and Professor Loїc Wacquant, sociologist, ethnographer and former apprentice boxer to consider the sport’s history in terms of race, class, and representation, from bare-knuckle fights to attempts to tame the Kray Twins
  • GENTRIFICATION – Laurie Taylor is joined by Sophie Watson, Professor of Sociology at the Open University, Tim Butler, Head of the Department of Geography at King’s College in London, Dr Tom Slater who will soon be talking a post as Lecturer in Human Geography at the University of Edinburgh, and Lance Freeman, Assistant Professor in Urban Planning at Columbia University to discuss the driving forces and patterns of gentrification in the UK. Does the gentrification process bring benefits to existing and new inhabitants of an area? How much does it involve the displacement of present residents?
  • PUNTERS – Dr Teela Sanders, Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Leeds, talks about her latest research findings on the complex and unexpected relationships which develop between sex workers and their regular clients
  • IMAGINATION AND THE CITY – in part three of a series exploring how imagination and reality combine to create the environments in which we live, Laurie Taylor discusses our experience of the modern city. He is joined by the novelist Will Self, the sociologist Richard Sennett and the geographer Doreen Massey in the Radio Theatre at Broadcasting House. In front of a live audience at the Radio Theatre at Broadcasting House, Laurie is joined by writer Will Self, sociologist Richard Sennett and geographer Doreen Massey
  • CAFÉ CULTURE  – Laurie Taylor examines our behaviour in coffee shops with Dr Eric Laurier, author of The Cappuccino Community: cafes and civic life in the contemporary city
  • CORPORATE PR – Laurie Taylor is joined by Professor David Miller, author of a new book entitled Thinker, Faker, Spinner, Spy and Mark Borkowski, PR Practitioner, to discuss the idea that ‘Corporate Spin’ has launched a full scale assault on modern democracy to the point that lies, fakes and ‘dark arts’ are behind a bewildering array of untruths that completely mislead the media and the public.
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