Category Archives: Sociological Autobiography

A Sociological Autobiography: 59 – February 15, 2003

February 15, 2003, is a day that will enter the history books. It saw coordinated global protests against the imminent Iraq War in 600+ cities. Experts in social movements have described it as the largest protest event in human history. Estimates of participants worldwide range from 8 to 11 million: Rome saw around 3 million,… Read More »

A Sociological Autobiography: 58 – ‘Health and Social Change’

2002 saw the publication of a single-authored effort, Health and Social Change, a contribution to Tim Mays’ excellent series on ‘issues in society’. I have it in front of me now. What do I think of it? I am a little embarrassed to say that I quite like it. Why embarrassed? Because I’m not sure… Read More »

A Sociological Autobiography: 57: Ron Moves In

My father, Ron, had an indoor fall in early 2002. He was admitted to hospital. He was mistakenly given a double dose of the prescribed medication by an over-tired junior doc (which is maybe why he thought he was in Belgium). I am inclined to think all this irrelevant to the advice I was given… Read More »

A Sociological Autobiography: 56 – An Inaugural Lecture, 2002

I had always assumed that being awarded a chair heralded the opportunity to give an inaugural lecture, but apparently this is not so. Nor does every body invited want to give one. I was quite keen though. But who to ask if they wanted to attend? I settled on a composite gathering, comprising my immediate… Read More »

A Sociological Autobiography: 55 – Teaching and Lecturing

Yet another diversionary fragment, though this is not the first time I have written about teaching. Can I teach, give lectures and papers? I have often wondered. What are the pluses and the minuses? There’s style and there’s content of course. The obvious answer is: ‘it’s not for me to judge’. Nor is the evidence… Read More »

A Sociological Autobiography: 54 – Becoming a Professor

When asked if I am ambitious I have always replied: ‘only to write a half-way decent book or two’. My institutional ambition was even more vague, at least as far as promotion was concerned. This was in part due to my personal experience as an undergraduate at Surrey University and of studying when only 7%… Read More »

A Sociological Autobiography: 53 – Exploring Beijing

Breakfast on Saturday 18 August was not rushed, although it seemed so. Maybe my capacity for crispy bacon had diminished. Jason prattled on, even serenading us. He was educated, intelligent and interesting, especially when telling us about this/his China in transition, about which he knew more than he felt safe in letting on and about… Read More »

A Sociological Autobiography: 52 – Getting to Beijing

When we returned to rail travel on the morning of Tuesday 14 August, the carriages were more colourful, blue and red stripes instead of the dull matt green we had grown accustomed to. And the train differed from its predecessor in other respects, positive and negative. Strongly in its favour it had superior toilets. Unlike… Read More »

A Sociological Autobiography: 51 – Irkutsk

We awoke on Friday 10 August not to flat Siberian wastelands but to a largely unchanged landscape. An unannounced halt caused our toilets to be locked as breakfast approached, so we staggered sleepy-eyed to the restaurant car. This required negotiating several spaces between carriages, which always struck me as a more precarious business than it… Read More »

A Sociological Autobiography: 50 – Boarding the Trans-Siberian Train

The Metro journey from Moscow’s Red Square to the hotel saw us back by 11pm. I adjourned to the bar to write a few postcards and read more Hosking. After midnight I was again approached by a couple of escorts. Sociologists are naturally curious, and I had after all conducted research on London’s sex industry.… Read More »