For some time now, BBC Radio Four’s Thinking Allowed programme has been an important pathway for sociologists who wish to engage in ‘public sociology’. The program is presented by the sociologist Laurie Taylor, and is described as ‘new research on how society works’. According to Michael Burawoy (2005), public sociology is sociology presented to a wide, non-academic audience in an accessible and relevant way in order to share the ideas, arguments and research of sociologists. Through public sociology, the social, political and personal uses and potential of sociology is highlighted: it helps people understand society as it is now and can show them how things might be bettered.
Check out the recent edition of the programme which focuses on happiness and features one of my colleagues at the University of Leicester,
Dr David Bartram. David talks about his research on economic migrants and whether their higher income leads to their happiness. The ‘happiness work’ that comes with working as a hairdresser is also discussed via the sociological work of Rachel Cohen, who is a Senior Research Fellow at University of Warwick
You can find out more about Thinking Allowed at http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006qy05.
Burawoy, M. (2005) ‘For public sociology’,American Sociological Review, Vol. 70, Issue 1, 4-28.