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Defending the indefensible

Social philosophy can be an anaemic business in this post-ideological age. But Slavoj Zizek's most recent book shows that there's at least one person out there willing to take the fight to the masses
David Schneider  

To the estate born

Lynsey Hanley's "intimate history" of British estates is strong on autobiography and social history, less so on the racial element of modern public housing
David Robins  

Lives of crime

Tony Blair's "tough on the causes of crime" and David Cameron's "hug a hoodie" speeches reflect the dominant sociological model of crime. But research into the "criminal personality" suggests some people from troubled backgrounds are far more likely to offend…
David Rose  

Digital exuberance

Digital technology hands more power and convenience to the individual consumer. But technologies of connectivity can threaten stability and community. We need a new ethics of inconvenience
William Davies  

Charles Tilly

America's most prolific and interesting sociologist is unknown in Britain, which shows how far the discipline has faded here. Tilly offers insights on everything from riots to the persistence of inequality
Geoff Mulgan  

Search for the middle

The Daily Mail speaks for this mythic region—the Guardian against it. The butt of snobbish jokes, "middle England" is still the place in which politicians most want to be loved. So where is it?
Paul Barker  

Emile Durkheim

The great French sociologist is now half forgotten, but he shaped much 20th-century social thought. The inventor of the idea of "anomie," and analyst of suicide and religion, still speaks to us
Michael Prowse