Category Archives: General Sociology

Building Bridges Between Theory and Research

If there is a theme running through my sociological writings (published stuff) and ramblings (blogged stuff), it is probably the attempt to build bridges between two discourses that I have long insisted have been too discrete, or non-dialectical, namely, social and sociological theory and empirical research. This was certainly an explicit intention behind the edited… Read More »

Limitations and Functions of Systems

I recall as an undergraduate reading a review of Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations by Peter Strawson. Even then I saw a disjunction between two philosophical approaches. Strawson tried, with predictably mixed results, to define more precisely what Wittgenstein was arguing for. In a way he was searching for ‘systemness’ in a ‘post-system’ discourse. He wanted to… Read More »

Thoughts on the Politics of Class

Earlier this year I read Evans and Tilley’s The New Politics of Class: the Political Exclusion of the British Working Class (Oxford University Press, 2017). I enjoyed it, with qualifications. I have recently chanced upon an edited version of a Mike Savage commentary on it and thought I might stick my oar in. In general… Read More »

‘Austerity Kills’ – Comments on a Recent BMJ Paper

The recent article in the BMJ purporting to show the negative effects on mortality in England of funding ‘constraints’ on health and social care has excited considerable attention (if not by the BBC). In this blog I precis the article in the hope of encouraging more people to read the original.     The authors note that… Read More »

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 »

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 »