Author Archives: admin

The Meaning of Life (No Less)

I’ve just started Terry Eagleton’s The Meaning of Life. I have no doubt that I will enjoy it, agree with him or not. There are few more entertaining ‘academic’ writers around. I’m only on page 5, but I’m encouraged to venture my own answer before tuning in to his. Fortunately blogs allow for spontaneous thinking… Read More »

Theory and ( Seriously) Confronting Health Inequalities

I have always regarded ‘theory’ as an inescapable component of writing about the world we inhabit. To say how the world is, in however modest a fashion, is after all to sign up to a family of ontological, epistemological and moral premises: that is to say, to sign up to a degree of commitment to… Read More »

Post-Colonialism and Disability Politics

Having just completed a blog on feminism’s putative four waves, I continue here with a companion piece on ‘postcolonialism’ and ‘disability politics’. I do justice to neither, but my intent is limited: to present an ongoing quandry. Can sociology reconnect with the likes of feminism, postcolonialism and disability politics, or has it shot its bolt? My… Read More »

A Handful of Notes on Gender and Health

I have written quite a bit about social class and health, but relatively little about gender and health. The logic behind this resides in my thesis that the paramount explanatory mechanism in post-1970s financial capital is the ‘class/command dynamic’. This does not of course mean that I think gender (or ethnicity, age and so on)… Read More »

Feminism’s ‘Four Waves’

Many feminists of my vintage are bewildered at the number of times wheels are being reinvented. I have never referred to myself as a ‘feminist’, but rather as pro-feminist, which strikes me as preferable nomenclature for a male commentator. Yet I certainly have views, and I resent ‘tweets’ that would deny a legitimate voice on… Read More »

Politics and Narratives

In the aftermath of the 2015 general election I made the point that Ed Miliband’s Labour had – and the polls confirmed it – popular policies, but that it lacked a narrative that bound them together and exercised a broad and deep enough appeal to the electorate. Its plot, such as it was, certainly did… Read More »

Bourdieu, Legitimacy and Photography

I can’t resist another brief word on Bourdieu and photography. His Photography: A Middle-brow Art concentrates mainly on those who take photographs, according to what social and psychological patterns, with what predictability, and why. But he pauses to consider how photography – that is, French photography in the early 1960s – fares in the extant… Read More »

A Sociological Autobiography: 69 – The Norwegian Connection

I was fortunate in 2005 to be asked to give a plenary lecture at the annual BSA Medical Sociology Conference. This represents a kind of coming of age for medical sociologists in the UK. My title was ‘Social Structure and Health: A Narrative of Neglect?’ The central thesis, which I had by then addressed often,… Read More »

Disraeli’s ‘Two Nations’

I hadn’t realized that Disraeli was an accomplished novelist prior to entering parliament. Born in 1804, he didn’t go to university, instead benefiting from his father’s extensive library. He spent some time in a lawyer’s office but found neither career nor refuge there, turning instead to writing. Vivian Grey was written when he was 22 and won him a… Read More »

Sociological Theorists: David Lockwood

David Lockwood has been neglected as a sociological theorist. Babyboomers like me remember him chiefly through The Blackcoated Worker, in which he argued, albeit with important qualifications, that white-collar work was being proletarianized; and his involvement with John Goldthorpe and others in the classic studies of affluent skilled manual workers in Luton, in which it… Read More »