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Thinking Allowed: Citizenship ceremonies and family ties

Updated Friday, 27th March 2015

Laurie Taylor and guests discuss studies into citizenship and the links between family ties and stories. 

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Thinking Allowed, hosted by Laurie Taylor, is BBC Radio 4's weekly focus on the social sciences.

On this week's programme

What citizenship mean to you? Copyrighted  image Icon Copyright: By Flogal via Dreamstime under subscription Making citizens:

How do countries make public rituals out of endowing new citizens with citizenship? Laurie Taylor talks to Bridget Byrne, Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Manchester, about her in-depth comparative study of citizenship ceremonies. In a mobile, transnational world passports and right matter now more than ever. So how do states draw and establish the boundaries of citizenship? Drawing on empirical research in the UK, the United States, Canada, Australia, the Netherlands, and Ireland, Dr Byrne roots contemporary concepts of national belonging in colonial history.

Family ties in genes and stories:

Janice McLaughlin, Professor of Sociology at Newcastle University, discusses her study of families referred to a paediatric genetic service. An increasing number of children are referred for genetic investigation due to physical & learning disabilities. This study found that the clinical discussions which ensue bring family histories to the fore in surprising and unpredictable ways. Sociologists have long recognised the importance of narrative to forming and maintaining family ties. But how are such stories altered as a result of geneticists' involvement in family relations? Which stories can and can't be told?

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

View the other episode guides in this series.

Find out more about what makes a citizen and family ideals

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