Soundings

Articles from No. 42, Summer

Academies: Privatising England's Schools: Privatising Schools Will Not Solve England's Educational Problems
Lord Harris informed the Financial Times in June 2007: 'I have a very good relationship with Andrew [Lord Adonis, then Schools Minister]. He rings me up and says, "Do you want this school?" and I ask what it's like and if it sounds like the sort of...
Constructing a Left Politics: It Is Time to Slough off Neoliberalism and Return to a Politics of Social Justice
As the global economic crisis gathers force, it not only sweeps before it the flotsam of discredited economic doctrines; it also demands a complete reappraisal of how economies and societies work. It poses again the great questions that underlie all...
Does the End of Life Have to Be Hell? Rather Than Solely Focusing on Prolonging Life, We Need to Address the Problems of Chronic Bodily Degeneration at the End of Life
Is it inevitable that dying and the last few years of life are horrors? Does it have to be this way? It is tempting to think that ageing and chronic death from old age are 'natural', while acute death of the young is somehow unnatural. However, the...
Editorial
The contemporary political scene is criss-crossed by systems of willed ignorance, the most obvious example being in the field of economics. The opening articles in this issue point to other areas where those in power - both in the UK and internationally...
Frames and Conjunctures in Present-Day Capitalism: The Complementary Concepts of Conjuncture and Frame Make Recent Events Easier to Understand
'It's awful - why did nobody see it coming?' That was the Queen's sharp question about the financial crisis to the assembled social scientists at the opening of the LSE's new academic building in November 2008. Those of us with negative views of hereditary...
No Small Undertaking
Pat Devine, Andrew Pearmain and David Purdy (eds) Feelbad Britain: How to make it better, Lawrence & Wishart 2009 Feelbad Britain is a revision of an essay of the same name originally published in February 2007, complemented this time around...
Public Service Reform, the Individual and the State: Our Approach to Public Services Needs to Be Turned Upside Down, with the Focus Switching to Relationships and Networks
In 2008, Participle worked with a diverse group of over three hundred older people and their families in the London boroughs of Westminster and Southwark. (1) We spent time in their homes, going shopping with them, helping with the odd job, and introducing...
Relationship and Dependency in the Public Sphere: The Importance of Relationship Is Devalued in Contemporary Culture - Even in Health and Welfare Systems, Where People Are Necessarily Dependent
During the last three decades dependency has become a word of contempt, as politicians and the tabloid media have demonised benefit recipients. And alongside this there has been a denigration of dependency within welfare systems, as social policy embraces...
The Killing Fields of Inequality: What Are the Contemporary Causes of Inequality in the World?
There are three main ways of distinguishing between difference and inequality. First, a difference may be horizontal, without anything or anybody being higher or lower, better or worse, whereas an inequality is always vertical, or involves ranking....
The Living Wage: In Spite of the Minimum Wage, Many Low-Paid Workers Continue to Struggle to Fund the Necessities of Life
At a time when economic crisis is prompting activists to look for new ideas about the way ahead, it is useful to look back to the lessons of history. Here I explore contemporary efforts to popularise the idea of a living wage, contrasting the campaigns...
The Millennial Generation and Politics: The Challenge of the Ipod Generation to Politics
Joss Garman, one of the founders of anti-airport expansion group Plane Stupid, recently laid down the gauntlet to the secretary of state for energy and climate change: 'It's time for Ed Miliband to decide which generation he is with. Ours, or Brown's'...
The UK Drug Problem in Global Perspective: The Current International Anti-Drug Model - Subscribed to by the UK - Results in Far More Harm Than Good
A mid recession and the credit crisis, one sector of the British economy continues to thrive - the trade in illicit drugs. Worth an estimated [pounds sterling]5.3 billion, the booming UK drugs market is dynamic and ever expanding. Over the last decade...
UK Food Security: Peak Oil, Climate Change and Unstable Commodity Prices Mean That British Agriculture Is in Need of a Radical Transformation
Until recently, anyone raising concerns about the UK's food security with government ministers and policy-makers was likely to be dismissed as an anti 'free-trade' xenophobic crank, harking back to the days of the last war, when German U-boats threatened...
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