Laurie Taylor talks to sociologist Steven Roberts' research into young men working in retail which finds evidence for a new and softer kind of masculinity. He's joined by Professor Valerie Walkerdine, whose documented the changing relationship between men and work in a post industrial economy. 

Mark Harrison, Professor of the History of Medicine, also looks at the close intertwining between trade and germs from the 14th century to today. His new book explores the development of public health in the Western world as well as the global misuse of quarantines for political ends. 

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