Uncommon Sense

Uncommon Sense

Our world afresh, through the eyes of sociologists. Brought to you by The Sociological Review, Uncommon Sense is a space for questioning taken-for-granted ideas about society – for imagining better ways of living together and confronting our shared crises. Hosted by Rosie Hancock in Sydney and Alexis Hieu Truong in Ottawa, featuring a different guest each month, Uncommon Sense insists that sociology is for everyone – and that you definitely don’t have to be a sociologist to think like one!


March 24, 2023 48 min

What makes “good” taste? Who decides? And what’s it got to do with inequality? Sociologist Irmak Karademir Hazir grew up watching women in her parents’ clothing boutique. She explains how her fascination for taste emerged from that and why talking about things like fashion, film and music is far from trivial – it’s how we distinguish ourselves from others; how we’re recognised, or dismissed.

Irmak tells Rosie and Alexis how sociolog...

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What does it mean to really listen in a society obsessed with spectacle? What’s hidden when powerful people claim to “hear” or “give voice” to others? And what’s at stake if we think that using fancy recording devices helps us to neatly capture “truth”?

Les Back – author of “The Art of Listening” – tells Alexis and Rosie why listening to society is crucial, but cautions that there’s nothing inherently superior about the hearing sens...

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December 23, 2022 47 min

In this supposedly “post-colonial” age, the idea of the native continues to be distorted and deployed, whether in Narendra Modi’s India or calls for “British jobs for British workers”. How and why has this word – so powerful in the age of empire – lived on into the 21st century? Who gains? And how has it gone from being a term applied to those ruled over by colonisers, to a label chosen by people promoting their own interests again...

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November 18, 2022 46 min

Emojis! Feminism! Rage! Sociologist Billy Holzberg joins us to talk about emotion. Why is it dismissed as an obstacle to progress and clear thinking – and to whose benefit? How can we let anger into politics without sanctioning far-right violence? And why are some of us freer than others to play with emotional abjection? Billy reflects on all this and more with Alexis and Rosie, celebrating thinkers from Sara Ahmed to Karl Marx, W....

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October 21, 2022 45 min

Lonely? Mean? Hostile? Cities get a bad rap. But why? Romit Chowdhury has lived in cities worldwide; from Kolkata to Rotterdam. He tells Alexis and Rosie about the wonder of urban “enchantment” found in a stranger’s smile, our changing ideas of the “urban”, and why anonymity is not always in fact the enemy of civility and friendship in the city.

Plus: how did “walking the city” emerge as a revolutionary research method? An...

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September 23, 2022 40 min

We each have a body, but every body’s story is unique. In this intimate conversation, sociologist Charlotte Bates tells Alexis and Rosie why studying bodies – and how we talk about them – matters in a society where some are privileged over others, and why ableism harms us all.

Charlotte talks about her co-authored work on wild swimming, arguing that despite its commodification, it holds subversive power. She also considers how the u...

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August 26, 2022 2 min

EDUCATORS! STUDENTS! LISTENERS! We want to hear from you ...

We’re taking a short summer break, and will be back in September ready and refreshed for the new term, and with a new episode for you!

So, while Rosie and Alexis have some well-earned time-outs – and catch up on reading for forthcoming shows on things like cities, emotion and noise – we have a request: Could you use just a few of those spare 45 minutes t...

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July 22, 2022 42 min

Too often, talk about security seems to belong to politicians and psychologists; to discussions about terrorism and defence, individual anxiety and insecurity. But how do sociologists think about it? And why care?

Daria Krivonos – who works on migration, race and class in Central and Eastern Europe – tells Alexis and Rosie why security matters. What’s the impact of calling migration a “security threat”? How does the security of the ...

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June 24, 2022 41 min

Think of intimacy and, pretty soon, you’ll probably think about sex. But, as sociologist Katherine Twamley explains, intimacy means much more than that: it’s woven through so many of our relationships – including with people whose names we might not even know. She tells Rosie and Alexis how an accidental trip to India got her thinking about the varied meanings of “love” across cultures and contexts, and reflects on whether, to quot...

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May 20, 2022 43 min

School should be about play, fulfilment and learning. But it is also a place of surveillance, discipline and discrimination. Activist scholar Remi Joseph-Salisbury has researched policing, racism and education in the UK. He tells Rosie and Alexis what happens when policing enters the classroom, its impact on students and teachers of colour, and the need for wholesale reform – including a truly anti-racist curriculum.

Plus: how can w...

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April 22, 2022 40 min

Home means something to everyone. More than just bricks and mortar, it’s about security and belonging, citizenship and exclusion. Michaela Benson has researched it all: from the UK’s self-build communities, to people seeking a new lifestyle abroad. She tells Alexis and Rosie about this and her own experience of home, including her mother’s relationship to her place of birth: Hong Kong.

Plus, Kwame Lowe and Alice Grahame in...

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April 22, 2022 43 min

What does care really mean? For feminist sociologist Bev Skeggs, it should be at the heart of how we organise our society – from tax to health, to climate action. She talks to Alexis and Rosie about the costs of complacency, her own shocking experience of care (or lack of it) as her own parents faced the end of life, and why we have every right to expect the state to look after us. Care, she shows, is political: there’s no care wit...

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March 24, 2022 1 min

This is Uncommon Sense, the podcast that sees our world afresh, through the eyes of sociologists. Brought to you by The Sociological Review, it’s a space for questioning taken-for-granted ideas about society – for imagining better ways of living together and confronting our shared crises. Hosted by Rosie Hancock in Sydney and Alexis Hieu Truong in Ottawa, featuring a different guest each month, Uncommon Sense insists that sociology...

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