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Thinking Allowed 2015

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

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Laurie Taylor looking ahead Copyrighted  image Icon Copyright: BBC Thinking Allowed is BBC Radio 4's weekly focus on the social sciences in partnership with The Open University.

Here, we bring you exclusive content from The Open University's academic experts responding to the subjects Laurie Taylor and his guests explore, as well as links to teaching materials such as the Open University module, Introducing The Social Sciences.

You may also like to try one of our FREE courses we have compiled to complement the programme.  

See below for more information about each episode and exclusive content produced by our academics on a range of subjects. You may also like to watch these exclusive videos with presenter Laurie Taylor on all things to do with social sciences. 

We also host Society Matters, a blog that seeks to inform, stimulate and challenge your perceptions of everyday life and our changing world. 

You can also get involved with the topics discussed on the programme every week by visiting the The Open University Social Science's Facebook page and participating in the Friday Thinker posts

You may be interested in taking it further with The Open University by seeing what courses and modules we have to offer. 

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

View our FREE social sciences courses

Want to take it further with The Open University?

Factory music and volunteering post-recession

Musical notes shown inside someone's brain Copyrighted  image Icon Copyright: Sky Pixel | Thinking Allowed, hosted by Laurie Taylor, is BBC Radio 4's weekly focus on the social sciences.

On this week's episode:

Factory music:

The role that popular music plays in workers' culture. Marek Korczynski, Chair in Sociology of Work at the Nottingham University Business School, talks to Laurie Taylor about his study of aBritish factory that manufactures window blinds, revealing how pop music can enliven monotonous work, providing a sense of community as well as moments of resistance to the tyranny of the workplace.


Also volunteering in 'hard times': James Laurence ESRC Research Fellow at the University of Manchester, examines how the 2008-9 recession has affected peoples' willingness to do formal voluntary work as well as informal helping.

This edition of Thinking Allowed is first broadcast on Wednesday 1st July 2015 at 4.00pm on BBC Radio 4. For further broadcast details, and to listen again where available, please visit

Find out more about music and volunteering

Episodes in this series

Episode Description
Middle-class drug dealers and globalisation of white collar work Laurie Taylor discussed suburban drug dealing and the globalization of IT services in this week's Thinking Allowed. Read more
Arab Londoners - Migrants and British identity On this week's Thinking Allowed, Laurie and guests look at British-Arab people and the way London has changed their... Read more
White working class boys and French thought This episode of Thinking Allowed looks at British boys' underachievement in education and French intellectuals.  Read more
Factory music and volunteering post-recession On this week's programme, Laurie Taylor and guests discuss pop music in worker's culture and how the 2008 recession... Read more
The 'Precariat' and humour in sociology On this episode of Thinking Allowed, Laurie Taylor and guests dicuss an emerging new class, the 'Precariat' and also... Read more
Lesbian lives in Russia and big data On this epiosde of Radio 4's Thinking Allowed lesbian relationships in Russia in a post communist era are explored as... Read more


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