Robert Dingwall

Robert Dingwall is a consulting sociologist, providing research and advisory services particularly in relation to organizational strategy, public engagement and knowledge transfer. He is co-editor of the SAGE Handbook of Research Management.

Benjamin Disraeli

Coronavirus UK – Patrician Policymaking

The management of the COVID-19 pandemic has revealed the hollowness of that alternative in policies that have been made by people with very narrow life experiences and imposed on others with whom there is, as Disraeli once said, ‘no intercourse and no sympathy’.

2 months ago
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Ebola-signs-and-symptoms

Coronavirus UK – Is COVID-19 a Disease?

Having locked ourselves into a particular way of thinking and acting in relation to COVID-19, argues Robert Dingwall, it is very difficult for this to be questioned – but it must not go unchallenged if we are to balance the moral goals of medicine with the other moral goals that make up a good society.

2 months ago
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Our Plan to Rebuild Graphic

Coronavirus UK – Understanding the UK Government’s Policy on COVID-19

The UK government has regularly been denounced by many in the public health community for its absence of strategy in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. Much of this criticism, however, reflects a simple dislike of the strategy or of the government that has authored it. On closer inspection, the UK government does have an intellectually coherent position – just one that is different from that preferred by many public health specialists and activists, and, to some extent, the biomedical community in general.

3 months ago
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Bubonic plague in Europe

COVID-19 UK: How Do Pandemics Come to an End?

In the midst of the present chaos, it is easy to forget that the world has had pandemics before and that they have come to an end. Can we learn anything from these experiences that might help us in dealing with COVID-19?

4 months ago
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Coronavirus UK – Models or Crystal Balls?

As far back as we have records, humans have tried to predict the future. Some societies turned to prayer, divination or oracles. Others to tarot cards or crystal balls. In the modern world, much of that function is fulfilled by mathematical models. Is this new technology of forecasting really an upgrade?

6 months ago
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empty classroom

Coronavirus UK – Why Closing Schools is (Generally) a Bad Idea

School closures are widely seen as a quick fix for COVID-19 transmission. The UK government’s resistance to this measure has provoked considerable concern, including a petition to Parliament that has gathered over a half-million signatures at the time of writing. In practice, argues Robert Dingwall, the effects would mainly be risky for children and the consequences would other institutions’ efforts to work as normally as possible.

6 months ago
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Working on laptop on couch

Coronavirus UK: Self-Isolation Must Not Mean Self-Imprisonment

The United Kingdom’s reputed the self-isolation proposal, and its attendant controversy about the alleged influence of social and behavioral scientists on the government’s approach, is a nice indicator of how limited the social science influence actually is – and why it needs to be greater.

7 months ago
14537

Dickens’s Heart of Darkness – Not Your Muppet Christmas Carol

If you missed the broadcast of the new BBC/FX version of A Christmas Carol, it is well worth tracking down on a streaming service. While the production is occasionally bonkers, it brilliantly captures Charles Dickens’s passionate anger about social injustice in Victorian Britain.

9 months ago
904

Research on Research

With the advent of the new Research on Research Institute, our Robert Dingwall notes that while research on research fills a gap in the world of knowledge. However, it is important not to confuse it with the research enterprise itself or to assume that this will benefit from being made so planned, rational and evidence-based that the result is to squeeze innovation out of the system.

12 months ago
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