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.

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.

2 weeks ago
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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.

3 weeks ago
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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.

3 months ago
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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.

6 months ago
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Presenting at academic conference

The Academic Conference – and its Discontents

Individuals find it harder to cover conference costs – and departments or research groups have fewer resources to support them. It is not hard to see why there is a sense of grievance. On the other hand, it is not so easy to see what can be done.

6 months ago
617

Social Precognition and Sociology: The Case of Resistentialism and ANT

In the last 20 years or so there has been much excitement, particularly in science and technology studies, about Actor-Network Theory. One of its most distinctive features is the way in which it ascribes agency to material objects. Perhaps we should not be crediting Bruno Latour or Michel Callon with the original insight – but an English humourist, Paul Jennings.

7 months ago
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Slavers and traders inspect slave

Understanding the Slave Trade

Our Robert Dingwall says he has long thought that sociologists should read more history. It might correct some of their sweeping generalizations about the emergence and development of Western societies. This reflection has been reinforced by a recent book, ‘A Fistful of Shells: West Africa from the Rise of the Slave Trade to the Age of Revolution.’

10 months ago
607

Reflections on the Death of Doris Day

Ruminating on the late Doris Day – and in particular her rendition of ‘Que sera sera’ – our Robert Dingwall draws a comparison with the Greek Stoics , Western educational trends and the restraint that was once a feature of sociological inquiry.

11 months ago
202

Whatever Happened to Conservative Social Thought?

In the wake of Brexit, Robert Dingwall asks a series of probing questions about the eclipse of Conservative Social Thought at universities, such as when did the social sciences last have a serious engagement with the institutions of the bourgeoisie, even though by income and status many of us would belong to that class?

12 months ago
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