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08
MAY

Conspiracy theories

Conspiracy theories: Laurie Taylor talks to Thomas Konda, Professor of Political Science at SUNY, Plattsburgh, about the history and changing nature of conspiracy theories. Why have such wild theories overrun America? Also, Hugo Leal, Methods Fellow at the University of Cambridge discusses the most comprehensive examination of conspiracy theories ever conducted. About 11,500 people were surveyed in a study covered nine countries - the US, Britain (excluding Northern Ireland), Poland, Italy, France, Germany, Portugal, Sweden and Hungary. The research found that Trump and Brexit voters were more likely to believe in conspiracy theories than others.

Producer: Jayne Egerton
01
MAY

The Politics of Memorials

The Politics of Memorials: Remembering Emmet Till – in 1955, a young African-American was lynched in Mississippi in 1955 at the age of 14, after being accused of offending a white woman in her family's grocery store. Driving through the Mississippi Delta today and you’ll find a landscape dotted with memorials to major figures and moments from the civil rights movement, none more tragic than this murder.The ways in which his death is remembered have been fraught from the beginning, revealing the political controversies which lurk behind the placid facades of historical markers. Dave Tell, Professor of Communication Studies at the University of Kansas, analyses the various ways that this landmark event in the civil rights movement has been commemorated. Also, Margaret O’Callaghan, Reader in History, Queen’s University Belfast, discusses commemoration in the context of Irish history. How has the marking of the Easter Rising shifted over time? What roles are played by memorials in any society? And what forces dictate what gets remembered and what is forgotten?

Producer: Jayne Egerton
10
APR

CEO Society - Time Management

CEO Society – Laurie Taylor talks to Peter Bloom, Head of the Department of People and Organisations at the Open University and author of a new book which asks why corporate leaders such as Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg have become cultural icons of the 21st century. Also, how did productivity emerge as a way of thinking about job performance? Melissa Gregg, Research Director at Intel, explains why she thinks that time management is actually counterproductive.

Producer: Jayne Egerton
03
APR

Branding

Branding: Laurie Taylor explores the 'persuasion industries' and their role in creating modern consumer society. How has their use of an emotional model of brand communication, whether in political campaigning or product advertising, transformed our understanding of the rational consumer? He's joined by Steven McKevitt, Visiting Professor in Brand Communication, at Leeds Beckett University. Also, how 'branding' can desensitize far right consumers to extremist ideas. Cynthia Miller-Idriss, Associate Professor of Education and Sociology at American University, discusses her study into the ways in which extremism is going mainstream in Germany through clothing brands laced with racist and nationalist symbols.

Producer: Jayne Egerton
01
APR

Kitsch - Cute

Cute and kitsch - Simon May, visiting professor of philosophy at King’s College London, explores cuteness and its immense hold on us, from emojis and fluffy puppies to its more uncanny, subversive expressions. Also, the changing significance of kitsch, from garden gnomes to Eurotrash. Ruth Holliday, Professor of Gender and Culture at the University of Leeds, suggests that judgements of taste have shifted ground rather than relaxed. They’re joined by the cultural critic, Peter York.

Producer: Jayne Egerton
20
MAR

Debt

Debt: we live in a culture of credit with a dramatic surge in private borrowing due to wage stagnation over several decades. Many people will now be indebted until death. Johnna Montgomerie,Reader in International Political Economy King's College London, tells Laurie Taylor why she proposes the abolition of household debt in the context of a chronically dysfunctional situation, both individually and collectively. Also, the story of the National Debt. Martin Slater, Emeritus Fellow in Economics at the University of Oxford, explores its changing fortunes and role in shaping the course of British history. How has Britain been moulded by attempts to break fee of the debt, from post war Keynesian economics to today's austerity?

Producer: Jayne Egerton
27
FEB

Skateboarding - Parkour

Skateboarding and parkour: Laurie Taylor explores lifestyle sports in the hyper regulated city. Iain Borden, Professor of Architecture and Urban Culture at UCL, considers the origins, history and thrill of skateboarding. They're joined by Thomas Raymen, Lecturer in Criminology at the University of Plymouth, who followed a group of Newcastle free running enthusiasts, from wall to rooftop, and probed the contradictions between transgression and conformity to the values of consumer capitalism.

Producer: Jayne Egerton
06
FEB

Motorbikes

Motorbikes: Born to be wild. Randy McBee, Professor of Labor and Social History at the Texas Tech University, considers the rise of the American Motorcyclist from its largely working-class roots to the growth in "outlaw" motorcycle culture in the 1950s through to the development of the motorcycle rights movement of the 1960s and the emergence of the rich urban biker more recently. What impact has the 'biker' had on American culture and politics?
He's joined by Esperanza Miyake, Lecturer in Digital Media and Communications at Manchester Metropolitan University, and author of a new study of the 'gendered motorcycle' in film, advertising and TV. She asks why biker culture is often seen as essentially masculine and what happens to gender at 120mph.

Producer: Jayne Egerton
23
JAN

The changing middle classes

The global middle classes: How is the middle class expanding, changing or shrinking in different contexts? Laurie Taylor looks at the rise of the Chinese middle class, as well as the evolution of the African American middle class. He's joined by Bart Landry, Emeritus Professor of Sociology at the University of Maryland and Ying Miao, Lecturer in Politics at Aston University.

Producer: Jayne Egerton
02
JAN

Work - what is it good for?

Work: What is it good for? Laurie Taylor presents a special programme which takes a provocative look at work as a cultural norm. Josh Cohen, Professor of Modern Literary Theory at Goldsmiths, University of London, considers the joys of inertia - of being rather than doing; Andrea Komlosy, Professor in the Department of Economics and Social History at the University of Vienna, probes the debate about work as burdensome toil versus work as creative expression and Anthony Lloyd, Senior Lecturer in Criminology and Sociology at Teesside University, examines workplace harms in the service sector.
Producer: Jayne Egerton

235 episodes

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