Wednesday, October 21, 2009

History and sociology - Thinking Allowed

BBC Radio Four's Thinking Allowed is a very charming weekly program about social science that is always worth a listen. Today there will be a new program, so be quick to download last week's and if possible the one before.

Host Laurie Taylor has repeatedly revealed he has studied criminology and since I studied the same, I am not surprised by his choice of subjects and lines of questioning. A subject like two weeks ago, about the ever growing amount of inmates in prisons, especially in the US but also in the UK, is typically interesting to criminologists. Be advised to listen and think of this in advance: the size of prison populations says more about policy than about crime rates.

For the average follower of this blog, last week's issue should be even more of interest since the subjects, although sociological in nature, are heavily touching upon history. Taylor spoke about alcohol politics and grave goods. As to the first subject: over the centuries governments have been worried about alcohol abuse and one way or another attempted policies to do something about it. The definitions of what counted as abuse and who were targeted as the prominent abusers are of both historic and sociological significance. The second item was a brief inventory of what goods people choose to bury their deceased loved ones with. Does this seem just social science? An archeologists is in the studio to explain what lessons are in this study for his field.

More Thinking Allowed:
Boffins and WW I,
Richard Hoggart,
Secular vs. Religious,
Renoir and Slumming,
Mizrahi Jews.
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