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.

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.’

1 year ago
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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.

1 year ago
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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?

1 year ago
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David Hume and Adam Smith

Why is Social Theory So Boring?

The roots of sociology lie among a group of engaged, engaging and vibrant people who often risked their well-being, or even their lives, to advance their ideas. So what happened to suck much of the life out of the discipline?

1 year ago
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The Civic Responsibility of Ethnographers

What duty do social scientists have to report illegal activity that they witness as part of their fieldwork? If you answered quickly, you may not have thought about the issue all that deeply.

2 years ago
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Charles Ponzi

Academic Morale and Ponzi Schemes

The pool of PhDs and postdocs has expanded far more rapidly than the long-term career opportunities in higher education, a situation Charles Ponzi would have recognized- and which Felicity Callard captured with a late-November tweet.

2 years ago
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Reflections on the Centenary of the Armistice

At the 100th anniversary of the end of World War, Robert Dingwall asks how has English sociology asked questions about the experiences and the legacy of the war — or if it even has broached those issues.

2 years ago
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Why the Chinese Government Should Read Herbert Spencer

Herbert Spencer’s examination of ‘militant’ societies, argues our Robert Dingwall, proves to be a cautionary tale for the present Chinese government and its attempts to micro-manage society through the ‘social credit’ scheme.

2 years ago
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Welder in shop

Paying for the Good Stuff

When Robert Dingwall was younger, sociology departments routinely taught a course on ‘industry,’, ‘work’ or ‘economic life.’ “Most of this turf has now been abandoned to business schools in the form of organization studies, where it increasingly struggles to resist the expansion of finance and accounting studies,” he says, and to our detriment.

2 years ago
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The Other Dead of 1918

Although it won’t see the memorials and centenary events that the World War I Armistice will, it’s worth thinking back to the ravages of the ‘Spanish flu’ of a century ago and the implications that that pandemic of the past has for infections of the future.

2 years ago
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