World Economic Forum: Here’s How Finland Solved Its Homelessness Problem

In the last year in the UK, the number of people sleeping rough rose by 7%. In Germany, the last two years saw a 35% increase in the number of homeless while in France, there has been an increase of 50% in the last 11 years. These are Europe’s three biggest economies, and yet they haven’t solved their housing problem. Across Europe, the picture is much the same. Except in Finland. Image: Housing First There, the number… Read more
Photo of a person walking past a homeless person asleep and wrapped in a quilt on a mattress on the footpath

Sabina Leonelli: Without urgent action big and open data may widen existing inequalities and social divides

I would like to tackle the role of big and open data in contemporary society, and the well-justified fear that the development of related digital technologies and artificial intelligence may widen existing inequalities and social divides. The term “big data” is typically associated with the idea that lots of data, about anything and everything, can now be rapidly produced, stored, and disseminated in digital… Read more
Picture of a caucasian hand touching a digital representation of a globe

Umair Haque: Are Young People Giving Up On Democracy?

There’s a curious trend sweeping the globe: young people appear to be giving up on democracy. Troubling, no? Now, there are many factors that could be playing a role, and probably are. Technology. Apps. Demographic divides. And so on. But I think there’s a subtler explanation. Young people are giving up on democracy because democracy isn’t working for young people. It is giving them a false choice between peasantry… Read more

Jana Bacevic: Universities, neoliberalisation, and the (im)possibility of critique

Last Friday in April, I was at a conference entitled Universities, neoliberalisation and (in)equality at Goldsmiths, University of London. It was an one-day event featuring presentations and interventions from academics who work on understanding, and criticising, the transformation of working conditions in neoliberal academia. Besides sharing these concerns, attending such events is part of my research: … Read more
A human brain being squished by the bars of a bar code

Pete Brook: When cops raided a hip 1970s London cafe, Britain’s Black Power movement rose up

At the start of the 1970s, the Black Panther movement in the United States was both well established and well organized. It was also well feared by the authorities. By contrast, black activism in the U.K. was young, with barely a toehold on power. The trial of the Mangrove Nine, in 1970, changed all that. From near total obscurity and against huge odds, a group of British activists propelled the black power concept into… Read more
Spread from The Sun August 15th 1970 detailing the Mangrove Nine protests

Robertson and Travaglia: An emerging iron cage? Understanding the risks of increased use of big data applications in social policy

Big data technologies are increasingly being utilised in the field of social policy, including in areas such as policing, crime and justice, education, and social services. Although these sectors often seek to use big data methods and strategies as a form of evidence-based policy development, big data techniques do not of themselves guarantee the production of objective knowledge regimes. The level of caution… Read more
View down the inside of a glass stairwell

3 Big Ideas to Achieve Sustainable Cities and Communities

No two cities are the same. What does your city mean to you? For Razi, an 18-year-old waiter in Kuala Lumpur, and millions of other aspirational youth in Malaysia, cities are where their dreams for joining the middle class can come true. For Liao Xianmei, a 45-year-old migrant worker in Chongqing, China, and Fatma and Peter, a Tanzanian couple who moved from their rural home to Dar es Salaam, cities are where they can build… Read more
Aerial view of a sustainable city with rooftop gardens, solar panels, etc.

Sarah Evans: The Persistence of Gender Inequality A Summary of the Annual Equality Lecture 2017 by Professor Mary Evans

At the end of October 2017 we hosted our seventh annual Equality Lecture in partnership with the British Sociological Association. We were really delighted that the lecture this year was given by Professor Mary Evans, who has been central to the development of women’s and gender studies in the UK, and a prolific writer and academic on all aspects of gender in society. Her work has covered diverse topics such as love,… Read more
Professor Mary Evans at the Annual Equality Lecture, 2017

Michael Cameron: Loss aversion, ideology and the peer review process

Last month, Andrew Gelman wrote an interesting blog post about peer review, or more accurately about how researchers steer their papers through the peer review process: …researchers are taught to be open to new ideas, research is all about finding new things and being aware of flaws in existing paradigms—but researchers can be sooooo reluctant to abandon their own pet ideas… My story goes like this.… Read more
Cartoon of a stick figure person crawling along a rope over a shark tank to illustrate what the peer review process feels like

Gillian Terzis: Austerity is an Algorithm

First there are the text messages. Impersonal, incessant, and devoid of context, they reveal few hints of their purpose. The language is so vague you’d be forgiven for thinking it was spam. “Message from the Probe Group regarding an urgent matter. Please call us.” Then, a deluge of phone calls—up to ten times a day, often after-hours—from an unknown mobile number. Chances are you’re still ignoring them.… Read more
National Welfare Rights Organisation march, 1968