Author Archives: Robert Dingwall

Why is Social Theory so Boring?

…it seems that theory modules are being squeezed out of UK sociology degrees because students find them boring…Is part of the problem to do with how we teach theory? …Theory is not an abstract exercise but an attempt to deal with real and urgent problems. It is also dangerous. The trite narrative of ‘dead white… Read More »

The Civic Responsibility of Ethnographers

…The core issue, then, is whether social scientists have some kind of moral duty to act as whistleblowers or, more pejoratively, as snitches, grasses or stoolies. Lubet’s position appears to be that accommodating or condoning criminal actions is inherently wrong, although it may on occasion be tolerated. Many participant observers would argue that a greater… Read More »

Academic Morale and Ponzi Schemes

“In last 2 wks, startling number of academics at different unis have told me they’re trying to: move country, leave academia, go part time, take early retirement—or have quit trying to get academic job. Many who feel unable to take these options describe feeling desperate, trapped.”… …Why would we ever think it was a bad… Read More »

CONSENSUS STATEMENT Adult Vaccination: A Critical Element to a Life Course Approach to Healthy Ageing for Adults with Diabetes

Diabetes is a significant global public health concern with wide ranging social and economic consequences. In the United Kingdom close to 4 million people live with diabetes, [1] with associated costs expected to reach £16.9 billion by 2035. [2] Older people with diabetes often deal with additional chronic conditions which together result in a weakened… Read More »

We need a serious debate on slavery reparations

The current debates over reparations for slavery, and other historical acts that offend contemporary sensibilities, illustrate the extent to which universities are a soft touch when faced with such claims… A university should, though, be asking more critical questions. Who are we compensating for what? When might historical grievances be considered extinct? What are the… Read More »

Robert Dingwall appointed to DHSC New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (NERVTAG)

Robert Dingwall has been appointed as a social science member of the DHSC New and Emerging Threats Advisory Group (NERVTAG) NERVTAG is an Advisory Group to provide the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) and, through the CMO, Ministers, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and other Government departments, with scientific risk assessment and mitigation… Read More »

The State of Sociology

Sociology in the UK ought to be in a healthy state given the vast range of skills it promises to confer on its graduates. Ideally, sociology graduates are well equipped to handle all contemporary forms of information….However, it is difficult to see how these qualities are developed by some UK sociology courses. The discipline risks… Read More »

Now published – Howard Becker: Sociology and Music in the Chicago School

Who is Howard S. Becker? This book traces his career, examining his work and contributions to the field of sociology. Themes covered include Becker’s theoretical conceptualizations, approaches, teaching style, and positioning in the intellectual milieu. Translated from French by sociologist Robert Dingwall, the English edition benefits from an editorial introduction and additional referencing, as well… Read More »

Why the Chinese Government should read Herbert Spencer

…Under the current president, China has been moving towards the militant pole of Spencer’s continuum. Large numbers of people are employed in monitoring social media and maintaining the ‘Great Firewall’ to exclude and suppress knowledge and opinions that do not fit into the national leadership’s vision of a good society. This workforce is a direct,… Read More »

BSA Conference 1976 – Books back in print

The 1976 BSA conference in Manchester was the year medical sociology was welcomed into the mainstream of UK sociology. Robert Dingwall was a member of the organizing committee, led by the much-missed Meg Stacey and including Margaret Reid and Christian Heath. At that time, selected papers were published in edited books – the strength of… Read More »