Did Covid-19 restrictions break British society?

In this Collateral Global Conversation, I talk to Professor David Livermore about the consequences of lockdowns and social distancing restrictions for the fabric of social life. As we move on from the pandemic itself, to what extent have the behaviours and mores of pre-Covid times changed? On one hand, dystopian fears about the end of handshakes, hugs, […]

Feminism has a woman problem

As the gender-identity wars reached fever-pitch, Rosie Duffield, Labour MP for Canterbury, accused her party of having ‘a woman problem’. Ever since Duffield first tentatively raised her head above the parapet to suggest that the common noun for ‘individuals with a cervix’ is, in fact, ‘women’, she has been subjected to outright hostility and ostracism. The […]

The trans teen trend: a case of social contagion?

I enjoyed taking part in this thoughtful panel debate at the Battle of Ideas, London, back in October. The film, produced by volunteers for the brilliant education charity WORLDwrite, has just come out, at a time when developments in Scotland provide a urgent need for ongoing, open discussion of the many issues involved. Fellow speakers […]

How we failed the ‘Class of Covid’

Young people paid a heavy price for lockdown – but they’re not damaged beyond repair.

Interview about generational conflict for ‘The Why’

The problem of the ‘Covid Generation’

In this talk for the ‘Connecting Generations’ project, I discuss the unsettling questions raised by the transformation of the Covid-19 pandemic into a generational problem. The pandemic has brought to the fore many features of the problem of generations that have exercised the sociological imagination for a century. These include the potential for tensions and […]

The problem of atomisation: from ‘bowling alone’ to lockdowns

Keynote lecture for the Academy conference, ‘Old roots of the new disorder‘, Bedfordshire, 16 July 2022.  

Fear, trust, and the sociology of pandemics

The Covid-19 pandemic was often described as an ‘unprecedented’ disaster, which required wholly new ways of thinking about, and managing, social life. But what was different about this pandemic to those that have afflicted societies over time? Sociologists have long been interested in pandemics, because they disrupt the existing social order and throw existing problems […]

Generation CUB – how the events of Covid, Ukraine and Brexit will shape our teenagers’ lives

Our children have grown up in a febrile state of emergency. How will they deal with a changed state of mind in years to come?

What the pandemic has really done to our children’s minds

If children have chosen ‘anxiety’ as their word of the year, it is because Project Fear has taught them that this is the right way to feel.

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