E027 Surviving Society with Ben Rogaly

In this episode we are lucky enough to be talking to Professor Ben Rogaly, human geographer at the University of Sussex, activist, and one of Saskia’s PhD supervisors. Ben tells us about his work with residents of Peterborough, what ‘gangmastering’ is, and why Peterborough is an important place when it comes to thinking about Englishness, migration and racisms. As well as talking about whiteness in rural England, we ask Ben to help us out in thinking about the debate around anti-semitism in the Labour party – why is it such a big political issue? Why is it so complicated to talk about? And what is Zionism? Along the way, Saskia gets to whip out her 16th Century History A Level knowledge, Tissot contributes his info from the Daily Stormer, and Chantelle brings in her insider view on the Midlands. Thank you so much Ben for coming on the pod and for helping us to survive society!

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E026 The Surviving Society Alternative to Woman’s Hour: Rebecca Scroggs

This week we are back with an Alternative to Woman’s Hour featuring actor and activist Rebecca Scroggs! Rebecca shares her experiences in the acting world as a mixed-race Black woman, we talk #MeToo, #TimesUp and #ShutUp (disclaimer: not a real movement…yet), and we have a think about how complicated social class can be. The chair of a housing cooperative, we also talk to Rebecca about the current political climate in relation to social housing, and why squatting is a radical act. Expect lots of laughs, strong language and some digestible academic thinking 🤓

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E025 Joe Kennedy: Authentocrats

This week we travel to Sussex to speak to Dr Joe Kennedy of the University of Gothenburg about his new book Authentocrats and as per we get SUPER POLITICAL. Discussing the policies and legacies of centre-ground political parties, Joe explains how he wants to show that Labour is just as guilty as the Tories and UKIP when it comes to using the ‘authentic’ views of stereotypical small-town voters as an excuse for racist policies. In a conversation that ranges from crime dramas to Game of Thrones to Lord Byron, we ponder why the way in which we talk about places matters, whether a more precise politics is possible, and whether Joe will oblige us by defining neoliberalism. Thank you so much Joe for taking the time to talk to us!

The passage Joe reads at the beginning of the episode is from pp202-203 of AuthentocratsClick here to read a longer extract from Joe’s book.

Warning: This episode contains some academic jargon. We recorded the episode in a cafe so there is some background noise for the first 28 minutes.

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E024 F*** the system: BME, white genocide and austerity

What’s with all these BME/BAME acronyms, and are they actually useful? Is white genocide a thing? And how can the government claim austerity is over if they aren’t increasing public spending? In this episode we grapple with how to talk about people who are racialised, far-right ideals of racial purity, and the deceptions of our government, with a little help from our friends (we wish) Avtar Brah and Kalwant Bhopal. We get ranty, we get sweary, and we have a wry chuckle about all the nonsense that the world throws at us as we attempt to survive society.

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E023 Les Back: Migrant City

This week we are super excited to be joined by one of our favourite sociologists and teachers Professor Les Back to talk about his latest book, Migrant City, which he has co-written with Dr Shamser Sinha. After an introduction from Les and Charlynne Bryan, who contributed to Migrant City, Les tells us about the ten-year project in which he and Shamser have followed the lives of 30 migrants, some of whom are refugees and asylum seekers, as they seek to establish their lives in London in the face of brutal UK immigration policies. As well as discussing the racism and colonialism that continues to shape British social, economic and political life, the four of us think together about sociable sociology in a time of division and political unrest, the potential of everyday conviviality as an alternative to racism, and how as sociologists we can attempt to contribute to the humanity and dignity of people who bear the brunt of anti-migrant politics. Huge thanks to Les for taking the time to talk to us, and also to Les, Shamser and your participants for what is a beautiful piece of sociology and a powerful intervention in anti-migrant times.

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E022 Why is my research group so white? Racisms in higher education

When Saskia started her PhD in the Geography Department at Royal Holloway, one of the first things she noticed was the absence of people of colour in her research group. Given the numbers of students of colour at undergraduate level in the UK, why are the academic staff and PhD students she works with almost all white? Along with special guest Dom Jackson-Cole from the University of East London, Chantelle and Tissot visited Saskia’s research group to talk about the ways in which universities exclude and profit from postgraduate students of colour, how it feels to be a racialised outsider in higher education, and why histories and realities of racism are relevant to everyone, not just students of colour.

Many thanks to Sasha Engleman and Landscape Surgery for inviting us along.

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E018 Bonus track: Happy birthday to us!

As we celebrate one year of Surviving Society, we treat you to a bonus episode in which Tissot reflects on Europe’s post-Brexit shift to the right, Saskia gets to grips with being a person of colour, and Chantelle reminds us of austerity’s death toll. The political picture hasn’t improved much since we started last September, but by thinking and raging and taking action together, we can have some hope that we will survive society. Thank you so much for being with us for our first birthday, and here’s to many more!

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E018 ‘Race’ and the Cultural Industries with Anamik Saha

Why does culture matter when it comes to racism? Does having people of colour on TV make a difference to people’s lives? This week, we talk to Goldsmiths’ very own Dr Anamik Saha about his book, Race and the Cultural Industries, which deals with these very questions and much more. Anamik gives us his theory on the representation of people of colour in pop culture, we discuss what we all thought of Spike Lee’s BlacKKKlansman, and Anamik brilliantly breaks down the relationship between culture, racism and capitalism. There is some ranting, some swearing, some outrageous laughter, and many, many spoilers – happy listening!

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E017 The Surviving Society Alternative to Woman’s Hour: New year, new rant

We’re back! In our first episode of the academic year and third Alternative to Woman’s Hour, Chantelle discusses her experiences of partial privilege whilst her partner was receiving cancer treatment in private hospitals, Saskia shares some questionable fashion finds during her trip to Paris, and we end with a good old rant about the state of UK TV dramas and their obsession with white middle-class women with short brown hair and weird families. Ranting, swearing and laughing, we’re ready for another year of thinking sociologically as we attempt to survive society!

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