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Thinking Allowed 2021
Thinking Allowed explores how society works, with leading social science experts.
19th April 2021 at 12:15AM
Laurie Taylor talks to Robert Putnam, US political scientist of ‘Bowling Alone’ fame, and author of a new study which takes a historical look at the trends that brought us from an “I” society to a “We” society and then back again. What lessons can be drawn from the past, especially at a time of increased atomisation brought about by a global pandemic?
They’re joined by the sociologist, Emily Falconer, whose research into an Online Zoom community choir - at a time when so many face-to-face activities have disappeared - suggests that such choirs have afforded deep connections between people in a landscape in which the future of social gatherings remains uncertain.
Laurie Taylor talks to Joseph Webster, anthropologist and author of a new book about the Orange Order in Scotland which explores religious hate, the politics of ultra-Britishness, and sectarian football hooliganism. They’re joined by Karine Bigand, Senior Lecturer in Irish Studies, whose work considers the history of anti-Catholicism in Britain and Ireland and the current attempt to memorialise the Orange Order post the Good Friday agreement.
Hearing a particular song can take us back to a certain moment in our lives. In this interactive we're going to take a trip down memory lane, looking at songs from the past and exploring what music means to you.Take part now ❯What are the connections between music and memory?
After the doping and hooligan scandals that have taken the shine off previous events, Vitaly Kazakov explains why Russia is hoping for better this time round.Watch now ❯Why Russia is hoping for a good World Cup
What causes riots? Is commercialisation eroding childhood? Does poverty lead to crime? Social science explores such questions and helps inform others – from police officers to civil servants to business executives – who want to base their decisions on the best evidence. The BA (Honours) Combined Social Science is designed to be very flexible, enabling you to develop a variety of knowledge and skills from a combination of subjects including psychology, sociology, social policy, criminology, geography, politics and economics. You can choose to follow a named specialism by concentrating on one of these areas, or create your own combination of subjects. This degree course will equip you with skills highly valued by employers, such as using IT for the retrieval and effective presentation of information and data; critical evaluation; and concise writing. You’ll have your own specialist, subject-based academic support as well as opportunities to join in online communities of other social sciences students for teaching, learning and peer support.Learn more ❯BA (Honours) Social Sciences
BA (Honours) Criminology and Law
Crime, justice and the workings of the law are matters that affect us all and often dominate the news. This degree takes a critical and analytical view of the role and functions of the legal system, and examines its relationship with criminal behaviour. You’ll explore issues such as anti-social behaviour, poverty, discrimination, hate crimes, child labour, as well as global threats from cyber-crime, terrorism and human rights violations, and their implications for justice.Read more❯BA (Honours) Criminology and Law
Building on the OU's reputation for cutting-edge criminological and sociological teaching and research, this joint degree offers you the chance to study lively, topical and sometimes controversial subject matter. You'll investigate questions of crime, criminalisation and social harm to determine whether society's responses to these questions are adequate and appropriate. You'll also explore how social worlds are made and how we, as individuals, are shaped by the societies in which we live.Learn more ❯BA (Honours) Criminology and Sociology
You’ll explore a wide range of topics which shape the nature of contemporary UK society; from questions of identity, inequalities and differences to consumerism and environment, and issues of social order, disorder and governance.Read more❯Introducing the social sciences
Our Free Learning
This free course will help you to navigate your own path through the complex landscape of smart cities. You’ll hear from smart city innovators and entrepreneurs, city leaders, communities and business, connecting with learners from around the world to reflect on issues facing smart cities of different sizes and situations.Learn more ❯Smart cities
This free course will enable you to understand how arguments are constructed and used in the Social Sciences. Using extracts from a Radio 4 broadcast, you will look at the different viewpoints that are taken by the participants and analyse how the different arguments are being put together.Learn more ❯How arguments are constructed and used in the Social Sciences
This free course, From Brexit to the break-up of Britain?, sets the experience of Brexit in the context of the UK. It first analyses Brexit as a symptom of the political, economic and social geography of the UK, focusing on its uneven development in a country increasingly dominated by London and the South East of England. It then considers how the divisions within the UK (within England as well as between England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) were reflected in the voting patterns of the 2016 referendum. Finally, the course reflects on the implications of these short-term and long-term trends for the UK’s future as a multinational state.Learn more ❯From Brexit to the break-up of Britain?
Professor Sophie Watson
Sophie is a Professor in Sociology, in the Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences at The Open University. She is the Principal Investigator on a HERA European grant 'Moving Market Places' looking at the mobilities of street market traders across Europe.
Prior to joining The Open University, she held several high-profile academic positions at leading institutions including University College London, University of Sydney, and the University of Bristol.
Professor Watson's current research areas include urban water cultures, Society, and Street markets as Transcultural/Transnational Spaces and public space. Her recent publications are City Water Matters: Cultures, Practices, and Entanglements of Urban Water. Palgrave Macmillan. 2019. and Spatial Justice in the City Routledge 2019.
Professor Louise Westmarland
Louise’s research interests broadly focus on the police and their occupational culture. This has included studies of gender and policing, homicide investigations, and most recently corruption, integrity, and ethics.
She has published many notable articles from her research on police informers, the way they are regulated, and the effect this has on rights and justice.