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Hilary Pilkington on Researching Drugs Cultures

15:48, Tue 19 Apr 2011

In this podcast Mark Carrigan talks to Hilary Pilkington, principle investigator for a large research project on drug use in Russia, about researching drugs cultures. The interview encompasses the findings of ethnographic research in Russia, as well as wider theoretical and methodological issues which drugs cultures pose for social researchers.

(MP3 format, 13:23, 12 MB)


Interview with Danny Birchall from the Wellcome Collection

21:13, Thu 24 Mar 2011

In this podcast Mark Carrigan interviews Danny Birchall, web editor at the Wellcome Collection ( The interview discusses the process and thinking behind the Collection's innovative use of digital media, as well as the recent High Society exhibition in particular.

(MP3 format, 16:47, 15 MB)


Asexuality Workshop

19:38, Thu 24 Mar 2011

In this podcast Mark Carrigan (a researcher focused on asexuality) and Michael Dore (an asexual mathematician) lead an introductory workshop about asexuality. For more information about asexuality visit, the Asexuality Visibility and Education Network.

(MP3 format, 45:52, 42 MB)


Public Universities and Public Futures

20:36, Thu 17 Feb 2011

A round table session from Discourses of Dissent investigating how academic research, with a particular focus on social theory, might help us articulate and work towards a positive vision of shared futures which escape the discursive constraints which have defined the public life of the UK since the 1980s. The session will also explore the practical resolution of the tensions facing the university system. What are the most pressing issues faced by universities? Is a satisfactory resolution of these tensions possible without radical reform? Is there a need to move beyond critique? Steve Fuller, University of Warwick – What are we defending when we defend public universities? Dan Hind – Media Reform and the Public University John Holmwood, University of Nottingham – The idea of the public

(MP3 format, 71:14, 65 MB)


Social Theory and the Politics of Austerity

19:43, Thu 17 Feb 2011

A round table session from Discourses of Dissent ( exploring how social theory can help us understand the politics of austerity. How do theoretical justifications of austerity work to constrain public debate? How does the current government’s incongruous blend of neoliberal realism and superficial progressivism relate to what went before it? What resources can we find in social theory to critique the coalition’s agenda and it’s relationship to the wider crisis of late capitalism? Ruth Levitas, University of Bristol – The necessity of utopian thinking Sasha Roseneil, Birkbeck, University of London – Criticality, not paranoia: Registers of critical social theory Karen Rowlingson, Institute of Applied Social Studies, University of Birmingham – Why doesn’t the British public seem to care about inequality or the cuts in public spending?

(MP3 format, 111:46, 102 MB)


Martin Allen and Patrick Ainley on the prospects for UK Education

21:20, Wed 9 Feb 2011

In this public talk Martin Allen and Patrick Ainley discuss themes from their recent book "Lost Generation? New Strategies for Youth and Education". They place the coalition government's education policies in historical perspective and argue that the current crisis means we must confront long unanswered questions about the purpose of education and its place within wider society.

(MP3 format, 53:49, 49 MB)


Catherine Coveney on Cognitive Enhancement and Modafinil

20:01, Sat 5 Feb 2011

In this podcast Catherine Coveney uses the case study of Modafinil (a revolutionary 'wakefulness' drug reportedly subject to increasingly widespread use amongst students, academics, professionals and shiftworkers) to explore the status and practice of cognitive enhancement within contemporary society.

(MP3 format, 30:13, 28 MB)


Simon Williams on the Sociology of Sleep

19:03, Tue 1 Feb 2011

In this podcast Simon Williams talks about his new book the Politics of Sleep. While sleep is often taken to be a entirely private and natural part of human life, in recent years it has been the subject of a rich vein of interdisciplinary research. As well as exploring the political dimensions to contemporary discourses and practices of sleep, the interview addresses some of the broader questions which sleep raises, situating these issues in terms of theories of modernity and human nature.

(MP3 format, 42:35, 39 MB)


Dave Elder-Vass on the Causal Power of Social Structures

10:37, Tue 1 Feb 2011

In this podcast Dave Elder-Vass talks about his new book The Causal Power of Social Structures. The interview covers a wide range of topics within social theory: emergence, causality, agency, social structure and normativity.

(MP3 format, 36:16, 33 MB)


Stephen Turner on Normativity

20:39, Sun 16 Jan 2011

In this podcast Stephen Turner talks about his new book Explaining the Normative. The discussion explores changing theories of normativity and the different meanings they hold for philosophy and social science. Apologies for the poor sound quality of the recording. We had trouble finding a venue for the interview so it was conducted in a bar.

(MP3 format, 34:30, 32 MB)


Steve Fuller and the Future of the University

16:41, Sun 16 Jan 2011

In this podcast Steve Fuller talks about the future of the university. At a time of crisis in the university, the discussion explores how academia has arrived at its present juncture and where it might go from here. It contextualises the present predicament in terms of the wider intellectual, cultural, political and economic factors which underlay these seismic shifts in academic life.

(MP3 format, 34:29, 32 MB)