Saturday, February 21, 2009

Substance and Sociology - Thinking Allowed review

I keep lamenting BBC's Thinking Allowed, the radio four program about sociology, is too short and too fragmented by having to deal with two subjects each week. However, I am slowly getting the hang of listening to the programme. With the whole, long playlist I make myself, it may take a week or more, but I tend to pick up on each issue, since I discovered the podcast.

The issue of the week before last week, more specifically that of February 11th, was shortly titled: Drugs and laddish students. On the subject of drugs, it delivered the sociological facts about drugs, drug use, abuse and social stigma, that are familiar to sociologists and criminologists, but not always for the public at large. When I studied criminology, these views supported the very liberal policies of the city of Amsterdam and still had some political clout twenty-five years ago, but since then I have heard them less and less. As Thinking Allowed also points out: it is no longer politically correct or savvy, since we must be firm on crime.

Frankly, since I have left the field and not kept up with my literature, I was not so sure of those good old liberal views on drugs were still supported in sociology. At the time I had the feeling, the sociologists, at least those who taught me, were ideologically invested in downplaying the dangers of substance abuse and emphasizing the social stigmatization and surrounding factors to be the real threat. If Thinking Allowed is indicative, the research still seems to indicate such. What a surprise.

As to a short remark about the second subject: laddishness. It pays attention to a behavioral strategy male students of disadvantaged backgrounds display when they find themselves in the environment of higher education.

More Thinking Allowed:
Hole in the Wall,
Moral relativism,
Male Immaturity.

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