Social Science Bites

Welcome to the blog for the Social Science Bites podcast: a series of interviews with leading Social Scientists. Each episode explores an aspect of our social world. You can access all audio and the transcripts from each interview here. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @socialscibites to keep up to date on the latest activities.

exceprt from implicit bias drawing

Seeing Social Science Bites Podcasts in a New Way​​

Since its debut in 2012, the Social Science Bites podcast series every month has brought the voices of the world’s top social and behavioral researchers to the wider world. Looking over that body of work, we realized that mating sound with vision made excellent sense, and so enlisted scientific illustrator Alex Cagan to bring a select number of our podcasts to life via his pen.

7 days ago
292

Gurminder K. Bhambra on Postcolonial Social Science

In this Social Science Bites podcast, Gurminder K. Bhambra discusses with interviewer David Edmonds why we should speak about the Haitian revolution in the same breath as the contemporaneous American and French revolutions, how former empires conveniently forget the contributions of their colonies now that those empires have downgraded to mere ‘nations,’ and what lessons we should draw from the current iconoclastic impulse toward imperial statuary.

1 week ago
553
Ashley Mears

Ashley Mears on the Global Party Circuit

Ashley Mears describes modern jet-setting club life at the VIP level and the Veblen-esque conspicuous consumption, its “ritualized squandering” in Mears words, that is its hallmark.

1 month ago
918

Anne Case on Deaths of Despair

Economist Anne Case didn’t believe her eyes when she first identified the trend of what came to be called ‘deaths of despair’: looking at figures from the 1990s to the most recent data available from 2018, mortality among middle-aged, non-college-educated white Americans rose, stalled, then rose again.

2 months ago
1539

Ruth Wodak on How to Become a Far-Right Populist

Depending on your views, far-right populism can represent a welcome return to the past , or a worrying one. The former, argues sociolinguist Ruth Wodak in this Social Science Bites podcast, is one of the hallmarks of far-right populism – a yearning for an often mythical past where the “true people” were ascendant and comfortable.

4 months ago
3759

Richard Layard on Happiness Economics

Richard Layard remembers being a history student sitting in Oxford’s Bodleian Library on a misty morning, reading philosopher Jeremy Bentham (he of the famed “It is the greatest happiness of the greatest number that is the measure of right and wrong”). As he recounts to interviewer David Edmonds in this Social Science Bites podcast, he thought, “Oh yes, this is what it’s all about.”

5 months ago
3749

Susan Michie on Behavioral Change

While you might think that the essentials of human behavior are pretty similar, one of the things Michie quickly tells interviewer Dave Edmonds in this Social Science Bites podcast is that it can be unwise to jump to conclusions when studying behavior (or trying to change it).

6 months ago
3706
Henri Tajfel

Rupert Brown on Henri Tajfel

Rupert Brown, the biographer of Henri Tajfel, talks about the pioneering explorer of prejudice in this Social Science Bites podcast. Brown reviews the roots of Tajfel’s research arising from the Holocaust, and the current repercussions of Tajfel’s personal misdeeds.

7 months ago
5632

Michele Gelfand on Social Norms

“Social norms are the glue,” cultural psychologist Michele Gelfand tells interviewer David Edmonds in this Social Science Bites podcast, “that keep people together.” How much glue do we need? Gelfand describes the “simple tradeoff” between tight and loose cultures: tight opts for more order while loose aims for openness,

8 months ago
3910

Harvey Whitehouse on Rituals

One of the most salient aspects of what generally makes a ritual a ritual is that the action itself is divorced from real life or its real life roots – and that fascinates anthropologist Harvey Whitehouse. By his own admission, what intrigues the latest guest in the Social Science Bites podcast series is that ritual is “behavior that is ‘causally opaque.’

10 months ago
4648