Author Archives: Robert Dingwall

Social Precognition and Sociology: The Case of Resistentialism and ANT

A small group of us have recently been working informally on a hypothesis that we have called ‘social precognition’. In summary, this proposes that the world of STEM cannot make any major advances that have not already been imagined by creative artists. Science fiction precedes science… However, my researches have raised the troubling thought that… Read More »

Health Visiting and the MMR: a matter of mutual decline

The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, is reported to be concerned about the falling level of Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccination in the United Kingdom. The country has now lost its measles-free status… He has asked social media companies to block the spread of information from groups opposing vaccination (see previous post on this topic)… Read More »

Negotiating against a Script

Scripts or playbooks created by corporate managers to handle consumer and other claims reduce the discretion for negotiators to resolve individual disputes. How can one possibly “get to yes” by offering creative options to solve problems when the other party won’t even engage in basic negotiation behaviors (questioning and responses, information exchange, agenda setting, offers,… Read More »

Why does the British Labour Party struggle with Antisemitism?

The relationship between the British Labour Party and sections of the UK Jewish community goes back a very long way. This is why Labour’s evolving policy on Israel has been so emotive for so many people… Within this context, some Labour Party members have clearly not thought carefully enough about the words they have used… Read More »

Understanding the Slave Trade

I have long thought that sociologists should read more history. It might correct some of their sweeping generalizations about the emergence and development of Western societies. This reflection has been reinforced by a recent book, A Fistful of Shells: West Africa from the Rise of the Slave Trade to the Age of Revolution by Toby… Read More »

Reflections on the Death of Doris Day

The recent death of Doris Day severed one of the last links with a Golden Age of Hollywood. Many tributes have been paid to a woman whose talent was rarely fully used in her screen roles. In the course of these obituaries and memorials, it is interesting to note the songs that are picked out… Read More »

What counts as “Real Sociology”?

…if one looks around a typical campus, it is striking how much sociology has abandoned to other fields. The consequence is that those fields have invented their own social sciences to compensate. Engineering has human factors, computer science has user experience, transport planning looks almost exclusively to behavioural economics. Students have the message that sociology… Read More »

Whatever happened to Conservative Social Thought?

…This post focusses mainly on conservative thinking, partly because it is increasingly difficult to identify when and where many students would meet a respectful presentation of this stream of ideas. How many social science departments actually teach a core component on Conservative Social Thought? Conservative social and political thought rests on three quite distinct foundations… Read More »

Understanding “corruption” in regulatory agencies

Understanding “corruption” in regulatory agencies: The case of food inspection in Saudi Arabia Saad Al-Mutairi Public Department of Environmental Health, Municipality of Riyadh, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia Ian Connerton Food Microbiology and Safety Section, School of Biosciences, University of Nottingham, Loughborough, UK Robert Dingwall Dingwall Enterprises Ltd/Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham, UK Corruption is a relatively neglected… Read More »

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 »