The speed of fright: research in a six minute slideshow

by Rob McNeil

The joy of academia, for many, is the attention to detail. The sort of attention to detail that allows us to luxuriate over the minutiae and nuances of an issue for hours, days, months, years – sometimes even entire lifetimes.

Most people, of course, don’t have this luxury so, for the 2018 ESRC Festival of Social Science, we decided to try to speed things up a bit.

In fact, we decided to get 11 speakers to explain everything you could possibly want to know about the fiendishly complex issue of EU migration in just 72 minutes… Continue reading

Better lives with better toilets

by Ian Ross

Imagine not having somewhere safe to go to the toilet. Really imagine it – leaving your house and defecating behind a bush or a building. It’s hard to bend your mind to consider that, if you’ve had access to a clean, comfortable bathroom since you were a child. However, around the world, 900 million people have no option but to defecate in the open. A further 1.4 billion use a toilet that doesn’t meet World Health Organization standards for ‘basic’ toilets, meaning that it could still be a direct source of disease. Continue reading

Notes on a G-string

by Rosie Cowan

An item of underwear recently made headline news in the Republic of Ireland. The lacy thong was produced in a Cork courtroom, where a female defence barrister declared it proof that a 17-year-old rape complainant was ‘up for it’ – keen to have sex on the night in question. The jury of eight men and four women took just under an hour to acquit the 27-year-old defendant. Continue reading

Can the poor pay for drinking water?

by Rob Hope

Economists often ask awkward questions. With safe drinking water a human right as well one of the world’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) there must be the money to pay for everyone to get drinking water, right? Apparently not. With over two billion people without safely-managed water and 663 million without basic water the costs to meet the target by 2030 runs to US$114 billion per year.

The policy puzzle is how to square safe water for everyone with financial sustainability? As words fly up, delivery on the ground remains tricky. So if we ask the question from the perspective of the poor, and what they will pay, does that help us think of new ways forward? Continue reading