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Thinking Allowed: Surfing and coffee shops in Baghdad

Updated Wednesday, 25th June 2014

Laurie Taylor and guests unravel the darker side of surf culture, and the joys of idleness in Baghdad coffee shops.

When and where

Wednesday, 25th June 2014 17:00 - BBC Radio 4

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A surfer comes out the water Creative commons image Icon Darwin Bell under CC-BY-NC licence under Creative-Commons license Emergence: Is there a shadow over surf culture? Each week, The Open University teams up with Thinking Allowed, BBC Radio 4's guide to forward thinking in the social sciences.

This week, Surfing - a political history. Laurie Taylor looks beyond the tanned bodies, crashing waves and carefree pleasure, talking to Scott Laderman, Associate Professor of History at the University of Minnesota. His study traces the rise of surfing in the context of the rise of imperialism and global capitalism.

From its emergence in post annexation Hawaii and its use as a diplomatic weapon in America's Cold War to the low wage labour of the surf industry today; he uncovers a hidden history involving as much blood and repression as beachside bliss.

Also, Pelle Valentin Olsen, graduate student at the University of Oxford, explores the Baghdad coffee shop, idleness and the emergence of the bourgeoisie. He's joined by Graham Scrambler, Emiritus Professor of Sociology at University College, London.

Thinking Allowed is first broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on Wednesday 25th June 2014; for further information about the guests, please visit





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