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Thinking Allowed: The 'Precariat' and humour in sociology

Updated Friday, 12th June 2015

On this episode of Thinking Allowed, Laurie Taylor and guests dicuss an emerging new class, the 'Precariat' and also neglecting humour in social science academia. 

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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: 

Country kids Copyrighted  image Icon Copyright: BBC The 'Precariat':

Laurie Taylor talks to Guy Standing, Professor in Development Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. His highly influential 2011 book introduced the'Precariat' as an emerging mass class, characterized by inequality and insecurity. Professor Standing argues that that the increasingly global nature of the Precariat is leading to the kind of social unrest which carries grave political risks. Marking the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta, he takes his work a stage further, outlining A Precariat Charter which might award greater rights to this new 'class'. They're joined by Dr Lisa Mckenzie, Research Fellow in Sociology at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Humour in sociology:

Also, whilst humour and laughter have been studied by social scientists, scholars who use wit, jokes and satire may get marginalised from the academy. Cate Watson, Professor in the School of Education at the University of Stirling, argues against this neglect of humour's potential.

This edition of Thinking Allowed is first broadcast on Wednesday 17th June 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.

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