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Thinking Allowed 2017

OU/BBC's Thinking Allowed puts the focus on the latest thinking about how society works. Read exclusive academic insights from The Open University every week as each show airs.

  • Updated Monday 15th May 2017
  • Introductory level
  • Posted under Radio, Sociology
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Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: BBC Thinking Allowed is BBC Radio 4's weekly focus on the social sciences in partnership with The Open University.

To complement the series, we've brought you exclusive content from The Open University's academic experts and host Laurie Taylor. You might like to:

You can also view the upcoming episodes for this series and gain a wealth of learning content that ties in with that particular epiosde.

Thinking Allowed is on BBC Radio 4 on Wednesdays at 4.00pm and repeated on Monday mornings at 12.15am. Full broadcast details, and listen again links, can be found on

Missed the 2016 series? Catch up here.

Hear Laurie Taylor's view on social sciences

Dig Deeper into the social sciences

Want to take it further with The Open University?

Relatives of Russian Prisoners and Prison Art Programmes

Relatives of Russian Prisoners: Judith Pallot , Professor of the Human Geography of Russia at the  University of Oxford talks to Laurie Taylor about her research into the experiences of the wives, mothers, girlfriends, daughters-who, as relatives of Russia's three-quarters of a million prisoners, are the "invisible victims" of the country's harsh penal policy. She’s joined by Laura Piacentini, Professor of Criminology at the University of Strathclyde. 

Also, prison art programmes: how they bridge the boundary that divides prison and society.  Jennifer Turner, Lecturer in Human Geography at the University of Liverpool

Episodes in this series

Episode Description
Global health: moving beyond metrics and health divides Laurie Taylor digs into the social aspects around health in today's programme. Read more
Globalisation This week's Thinking Allowed looks at Globalisation and wealth Read more
Vertical cities and India’s property boom How do high-rises contribute to segregation? Ho was India's property boom affected the poor? Laurie Taylor explores... Read more
Terrorism: does it work? - The 'Hotline' Terrorism and hotlines are discussed on the the weekly guide to social sciences. Read more
Platform Capitalism What impact do large tech companies have on the economy? Read more
Squatting - 'Streaking' The history of squatting and public disrobement are discussed on Thinking Allowed. Read more
The production of money - How is money created and whose interest does it serve? Explore with Thinking Allowed. Read more
Teen bedrooms - Skydivers How are bedrooms a way of self-expression for teens? Why do people engage in risky activities like sky diving? Read more
Grandfathers and dementia care What's the role of a grandfather nowadays? This is discussed on today's Thinking Allowed. Read more
Beauty politics and feminine labour Why is there stigma around cosmetic procedures, especially when it's anti-ageing? Read more
A special programme devoted to the BSA/Thinking Allowed Ethnography Shortlist Thinking Allowed presents a special programme with the British Sociological Association on significant contributions... Read more
A special programme announcing the winner of the 2017 British Sociological Association & Thinking Allowed Ethnography award Find out who won this year's British Sociological Association & Thinking Allowed Ethnography award. Read more
Elite Education How do the most elite schools and universities around the world sustain inequality? Laurie and guests explore. Read more
Drugs in warfare Laurie Taylor and guests talk about drugs as the secret weapon of warfare. Read more
Insuring against disasters - electronic finance Disaster insurers and financial trading are discussed on today's programme. Read more
Renaissance of trades and dirty work How have jobs once thought of as low status manual labour been recreated as high flying careers? Read more
Relatives of Russian Prisoners and Prison Art Programmes This week's Thinking Allowed looks at prisons - specifically the relatives of Russian prisoners and prison art... Read more
Fashion and class How has the relationship between class, style and fashion democratised, or not, over the years? The show looks into... Read more
African Caribbean football club and the nature of sport This week's Thinking Allowed looks at the sociology of sport and has a discussion on a study of an East Midland's... Read more
Heritage and preservation Laurie Taylor discusses if there's a need to challenge assumptions about conservation of cultural heritage. Read more
Global inequality and flags Thinking Allowed looks at north v south global inequalities and flags as identity. Read more
Fertility Holidays - Male Infertility On this week's Thinking Allowed, Laurie discusses IVF tourism for low cost treatments and male fertility. Read more
The secret world of hair What does hair mean to society? Laurie Taylor and guests explore. Read more