Sociology, Democracy And The Economic Crisis

Aditya Chakrabortty of The Guardian has just (8 May 2012) published his second commentary about ‘the dearth of sociologists and other non-economists analysing how we got into’ the current economic crisis.  This silence, he says, is in vivid contrast to the (dramatic but ineffectual) protests of academic social scientists when monetarists reigned supreme whilst Margaret Thatcher was Prime Minister.  But, sadly older and wiser, this time we need to focus on a more encompassing agenda of transaction, impact and meaning.

To read more of this article and to comment, please visit Hilary’s professional website here.

Liverpool Economic Forum 2012

The Liverpool Economic Forum 2012, hosted on 15 May at Radisson Blu Hotel by North West Business Insider, offered important pointers to the future.  Positively, a lot now hinges on new City Major Joe Anderson’s delivering his pledges to bring investment, cruise liners and much else to Liverpool. More problematically, whilst all agree the city now punches above its weight, concerns remain about whether Liverpool can deliver a coherent offer to potential investors. And still discussion of real sustainability and inclusion is absent.

To read more of this article and to comment, please visit Hilary’s professional website here.

FGM: The Difficult Debates

Female genital mutilation (FGM/‘cutting’) is an inherently difficult subject.  The clash of social mores, clamours of righteousness from all quarters, vast contradictions evident in legal and child protection and the sheer sensitivities of the topic, contrasting personal vulnerability and grotesque practice, all make intervention perilous.  And beyond that there are the demands for clarity about male circumcision and appropriate modes of action in the UK and elsewhere. But still 50+ UK children daily are at risk of abuse.

If you have a Twitter account and would like to draw more attention to this issue, please use the hashtag   #NoFGM  and follow  @NoFGM1.  Thank you.

To read more of this article and to comment, please visit Hilary’s professional website here.

So Is Salford’s Media City A ‘Wonderful Town’?

We went to see Leonard Bernstein’s Wonderful Town performed by the Halle Orchestra at The Lowry in Salford last night.  And by coincidence, it transpired, yesterday was also the day when the BBC began transmitting the popular Breakfast show from its brand new operation in Salford Quay’s Media City.  Apparently, despite the anticipated longer term advantages of being in Salford rather than London, there are still BBC people who think it not done to be going Up North regularly to broadcast to the nation.

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My Log Book Of The Girl Guide Movement 1910-48 (written in 1962)

2010-12 is the celebration of 100 years of Girl Guiding in the UK.  In 1962 I, a young teenager and enthusiastic Girl Guide, made a Log Book of the Movement which drew heavily on The Guider magazine which came regularly through our letterbox, and also more personally includes photographs of my mother, Peggy, as a Girl Guide in the 1930s. The log covers the period from when the Girl Guides first formed until the year of my birth.  Here in all its unedited school exercise book glory it is…

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Call The Midwife: A BBC1 Triumph For Real People

The second hour of the BBC1 Call The Midwife drama series has now (on Sunday evening, 22 Jan 2012) been broadcast; and already we learn that there will be another series before long.  Rarely do I get enthused about television, but the original books offered the potential for something special; and so it turns out to be.  My piece elsewhere (and below) about aspects of public service which the TV drama illustrates has resulted in some really human engagement with this excellent viewing.  Please keep the Comments coming….

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Call The Midwife… Then, Now And In The Future

Summary: We might think that a book about midwifery in London in the 1950s is of little practical relevance today; but how wrong could we be?  The true tales which Jennifer Worth (1935- 2011) relates in her Call the Midwife trilogy, now being televised by the BBC, are not as some suppose stories removed from the realities of the present time.  They connect very directly with our current lives for at least two critically important reasons.

To read more of this article and to comment, please visit Hilary’s professional website here; or visit the article above on this website to continue comment and discussion of Call The Midwife: A BBC1 Triumph For Real People.

Speed Limits And De-restricted Signs Don’t Add Up

All public roads in Britain have a legal speed limit. What then are so-called ‘de-restricted’ speed signs about?   I spend many hours every year on motorways and travelling between various towns (especially at Christmas: no trains – safest and greenest way to travel – so we have little choice but the car).   But must road experience be confusing as well as so un-eco?  Is it time to change the way vehicle speed controls operate?  And maybe also time to challenge current road culture?  More RoSPA, less Jeremy Clarkson perhaps?

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Liverpool Lights At Christmas-Time

We took the opportunity whilst in town this afternoon to have a look at the festive lights, switched on now a few days ago. This was a quick visit just to the Liverpool ONE area, so much remains for a return trip (and perhaps to write about again); but what we saw was great. The displays are fresh and varied and the mood is good.
Liverpool city centre felt like a place where people will want to come to enjoy their Christmas shopping. There’s something here for everyone.

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Sociology In Your Career

Summary: I visited Kingston University yesterday, to talk about the many occupational routes open to Sociology graduates. The list of possibilities is in reality almost infinite. Alongside academic learning, Sociology courses instil a great many skills and a lot of knowledge which can be applied generically, so this was an excellent opportunity to exchange views and understandings of available opportunities with a new generation of Sociology degree finalists and their teachers.

Read more about this visit and the discussion around Sociology and Careers here.

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