Social fallout from America's prison boom

Since the 1970s America's prison population has increased massively, which has lead to a coining of the phrase "mass incarceration" to describe the phenomenon. Bruce Western, Professor of Sociology from Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, is a leading expert on the prison boom in the US and discusses in this interview how mass incarceration is affecting American society and in particular how it increases racial inequality. Professor Western, originally from Australia, also draws a parallel with the racial disparity apparent in Australia's prisons.

Keywords: incarceration rates; prison boom; criminal justice system; racial inequality; African-Americans


Robert Putnam on America's social fabric and meeting Gaddafi

As one of the best known social scientists of the last half century, Professor Robert Putnam has performed research into American society and how it has evolved over recent decades. In this interview he discusses his latest book American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us, as well as explaining how levels of connection and trust among people (known as social capital) have far reaching implications on how a nation like America handles terrorist attacks, financial crises and presidential elections. Professor Putnam also recounts his experience of meeting Colonel Gaddafi in the Libyan desert and what it told him about the now infamous dictator.

Keywords: social capital; trust; tolerance; Gaddafi


Arne Kalleberg on America's jobs problem

In this interview, Kenan Distinguished Professor of Sociology at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill Arne Kalleberg discusses the problems facing America's job market and how to address them. He begins by discussing the findings of his book Good Jobs, Bad Jobs: The Rise of Polarised and Precarious Employment Systems in the United States, 1970s to 2000s.

Keywords: unemployment; income inequality; GFC


Sanford Schram on Social Impact Bonds

In this interview, professor of political science and public policy at Hunter College at the City University of New York and 2014 Centre visiting fellow Sanford Schram, discusses an emerging funding model for social welfare policy known as Social Impact Bonds. He begins by describing how these public-private partnerships (PPPs) work and what they could mean for the future of social welfare.

Keywords: welfare policy; public-private partnership; welfare reform