Henriette Kolb: Why the widening gender gap is a wake-up call for us all

Global disparities between women and men have been narrowing for more than a decade, even if by small percentages. That makes the news from the World Economic Forum last week that the gender disparities have widened in 2017 all the more disappointing. It is a step back from global efforts toward achieving gender equality, and that hurts all of us. The World Economic Forum’s 2017 Global Gender Gap Report — which analyzes… Read more
sihlouette of a man's head and a woman's head facing each other with a tightrop running through both. Standing on the tightrope is a man, while hanging from the tightrope by one hand is a woman

Andrew Sayer: We need to challenge the myth that the rich are specially-talented wealth creators

In light of the news that the richest 80 people in the world have as much wealth as the poorest half of the world’s population, all 3.5 billion of them, and at the time of the plutocrats’ World Economic Forum in Davos, many people are talking about the extraordinary concentration of wealth at the top. Here in the UK, the combined wealth of the richest 1,000 people is £519 billion (up from $450 billion in 2013). That’s… Read more
Photo of Donald Trump and Martin Skreli side by side looking incredibly smug

Book Review: The New Nature Writing: Rethinking the Literature of Place by Jos Smith

As James English has shown, literary prizes are key markers and producers of value. The Wainwright Golden Beer Book Prize, which rewards ‘writing on the outdoors, nature and UK-based travel writing’, does this work for the texts most often subsumed under the heading ‘New Nature Writing’: it institutionalises and validates them. As any brief search shows, New Nature Writing is an established thing, and a… Read more
Cover to The New Nature Writing by Jos Smith

Māori Article of the Week: Myth, Māori, and Two Cartoons: A Semiotic Analysis by Elers and Elers

In May 2013, two cartoons depicting Māori people were published in two newspapers in Aotearoa New Zealand.  Māori politicians condemned the cartoons as perpetuating racism, while the Race Relations Commissioner said the cartoons were offensive but not racist. The purpose of this paper is to critique those two cultural artefacts. We draw upon Barthesian criticism to conduct a semiotic analysis as an oppositional… Read more

Seeta Bhardwa: How can we fix the Oxbridge problem?

The apparent elitist nature of Oxbridge and other top universities has again come under scrutiny following the release of new research showing that numbers of black and minority ethnic (BME) and lower socio-economic students at the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge remain depressingly low. Figures obtained by a Freedom of Information request from the Labour MP David Lammy revealed that students… Read more
Cambridge green

Kevin Veale: Tactics for addressing Alt-Right ideologies in the classroom

Universities are generally understood to be bastions of independent thought and free-expression, which is exactly what they need to be. However, one of the realities that we need to take into account is that “freedom of speech,” “free expression” and other vitally important ideals are not and never have been evenly distributed within our society: the Guardian studied its own comments section and revealed… Read more
Meeting full of alt-right Pedro Frog characters.

Ruth Patrick: Inaccurate, exploitative, and very popular: the problem with ‘Poverty Porn’

Ongoing cuts to social security provision take place against a context in which ‘welfare’ is continually derided. The use of the Americanisation welfare rather than social security is itself a linguistic device that operates to narrow our analytical attention (and critique) onto a small proportion of beneficiaries: those in receipt of out-of-work state support. Focusing on the ‘problem’ with ‘welfare’… Read more
Family from The Estate, a tv show about a working class family that live on a Council estate.

Jessica Megarry: Why #metoo is an impoverished form of feminist activism, unlikely to spark social change

Using the hashtag #metoo, thousands of women around the world have posted on social media sharing their stories of male violence, particularly in the workplace. The posts are a response to the multiple accusations of sexual assault against film producer Harvey Weinstein, as women outside the film industry join in online to share their experiences of harassment, assault, and rape. As the stories continue to pile up,… Read more
#METOO and #BalanceTonPorc written on the palm of a woman's hand in black ink

Book Review: The Environmental Documentary: Cinema Activism in the 21st Century by John A. Duval

John Duval’s book, The Environmental Documentary: Cinema Activism in the 21st Century, presents the reader with a comprehensive catalogue of environmental films ranging from well-known documentaries such as An Inconvenient Truth (2006) to lesser known activist films such as Garbage Warrior (2007). The selection of films included in the book’s 320 pages is impressive, making it a valuable resource for any… Read more
The cover for The Environmental Documentary: Cinema Activism in the 21st Century by John A Duvall

Māori Article of the Week: Aotearoa/New Zealand – Working Differently with Communities and Families by Munford, Sanders, Andrew, Butler, Kaipuke and Leland

This chapter will focus on a neighbourhood centre in a community in New Zealand. The philosophy and practise of the Centre are based on community development principles. This chapter will explore some of the contributions that these centres can make towards enhancing community wellbeing, strengthening naturally occuring networks (Munford and Sanders, 1999) and integrating informal educational activities… Read more