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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E014 Surviving Society with Priyamvada Gopal

In this very special episode, Chantelle and Tissot chat to Dr Priyamvada Gopal, English lecturer at the University of Cambridge and brilliant anti-racist activist. Between the three of us, we pull apart racism and representation in universities, colonialism and its collaborators and the abuse that comes with anti-racist activism. There might be a few swear words in there, but mainly it’s an essential conversation that gives context to the struggles people of colour continue to face in UK higher education.

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E013 Rima Saini on ‘race’ and class

How middle class are middle class people of colour? This week we’re joined by Rima Saini, a PhD student who is researching South Asian middle classes in the UK. She unpacks how complicated being middle class can be for people of South Asian origin due to the racisms they face on a daily basis, and how they manage the clash between privilege and prejudice. We also talk about whether Meghan Markle can be an activist and a royal, how theorists of race and class are competing with each other when it comes to explaining Brexit, and why ‘race’ and class can never truly be separated. In an episode which sometimes strays into academic jargon (sorry!), we unravel issues of essentialism, respectability, tokenism, and whether you can ever really escape the ‘race’ and class other people see you as. As usual, there’s a lot of laughing, a bit of ranting, and some strong language!

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E012 The Surviving Society Alternative to Woman’s Hour: Intersectionality

In our second Surviving Society Alternative to Woman’s hour we are breaking down intersectionality! Special guest Brenda talks us through her role as a children’s counsellor, arguing that women and children who have been victims of domestic abuse suffer further violence at the hands of the state due to cuts to vital services, Saskia discusses one of the ultimate feminist conundrums of body image, and Chantelle wants early career researchers to recognise that, despite shitty contracts and precarity, to work in academia is to be in a position of privilege. Throughout the episode, we try to bear in mind the ways in which oppressions can intersect along the lines of gender, class, ‘race’, migration status and perceived body size. Expect the usual strong language, ranting and laughter!

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E009 Free speech on campus and The Daily Mail

Why is everyone obsessed with free speech on university campuses? And who is it that makes The Daily Mail so toxic? Saskia takes the Free Speech University Rankings to task, Chantelle decries Paul Dacre, and Tissot reminds us that social media and the far right are changing political conversations. As usual, we are a bit sweary, a bit ranty, and always ready to challenge the status quo ✊🏾

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E006 Mugabe, Meghan Markle and migration

What’s wrong with the way we talk about Africa? Who cares if Meghan Markle is ‘mixed race’? And why do British citizenship tests matter? We tackle all this and more in this episode on how ‘race’, gender and Britain’s former colonies are portrayed in the media. With some swearing and plenty of historical insights from Tissot.

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E004 The Brexit Special: Racism, Jo Cox and passports

Brace yourselves, people: this week, we’re tackling Brexit. We talk about racism in the UK, how Jo Cox’s murderer was motivated by the far-right, and what it means to feel like a migrant since the referendum. With strong language that some may find offensive, and laughter that some may find too loud, we explain why Brexit makes us angry, and how the Leave result has affected our lives.

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