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 »

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 »