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Raising Middle-Class Black Children; Neon

Laurie Taylor explores the history of the flickering light, from an advertising device to a metaphor for modernity. Plus, middle-class black families and education.

Neon - Laurie Taylor discusses a history of the flickering light which illuminated the modern world. Professor of American Studies, Christoph Ribbat, charts the rise and fall of neon. From seedy back alleys to gaudy Las Vegas, its blinking presence has electrified the contemporary city. So why did the theorist, Theodor Adorno, so despise these glowing tubes? How did neon become such a recurrent metaphor for modernity in popular culture, ranging from the writings of Vladimir Nabokov to the art of Tracy Emin? And why has the gas which once lit up our lives begun to fade into oblivion? They're joined by the cultural critic, Matthew Sweet.

Also, the first dedicated UK study of black Caribbean middle-class families, and their strategies and priorities in relation to their children's education. The role of 'extra-curricular' activities in the process by which black middle-class parents seek to raise and develop their children.

Producer: Jayne Egerton.

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28 minutes

Carol Vincent

Professor of Education, Institute of Education, University of London



Find out more about Carol Vincent



Abstract: Raising Middle-class Black Children: Parenting Priorities, Actions and Strategies
Carol Vincent; Nicola Rollock; Stephen Ball; David Gillborn
doi: 10.1177/0038038512454244
Sociology June 2013 vol. 47 no. 3 427-442

Christoph Ribbat

Professor of American Studies at the University of Paderborn, Germany



Find out more about Christoph Ribbat



Flickering Light: A History of Neon
Christoph Ribbat (author); Mathews Anthony (Translator)
Publisher: Reaktion Books
ISBN-10: 1780230915
ISBN-13: 978-1780230917

Matthew Sweet

Writer and broadcaster



Find out more about Matthew Sweet

Ethnography Award

Thinking Allowed in association with the British Sociological Association announces a new annual award for a study that has made a significant contribution to ethnography: the in-depth analysis of the everyday life of a culture or sub-culture.


Are you involved in social science research and completing or will have completed an ethnography this year? The Award is open to any UK resident currently employed as a teacher or researcher or studying as a postgraduate in a UK institution of higher education.


An entry should be a completed ethnography, a qualitative research project which provides a detailed description of the practices of a group or culture. Any sole authored book or peer reviewed research article published during the calendar year of the award will be eligible.


The judges for the Award are Professor Dick Hobbs, Professor Henrietta Moore, Dr Louise Westmarland, Professor Bev Skeggs. The Chair is Professor Laurie Taylor. (Please do not contact any judges directly).



Find out more on how to participate


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