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About Les Back

Les Back is Professor of Sociology at Goldsmiths, University of London. His books include The Art of Listening (Berg, 2007), Theories of Race and Racism (Routledge, 2001), an on-line multi-media book entitled Academic Diary (Free Thought, 2011), and recently, Live Methods (2013, with Nirmal Puwar).


Articles by Les Back

This week’s front page editor

Clare Sambrook

Clare Sambrook, investigative journalist, co-edits Shine a Light.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Fairytale of New Addington

This Croydon neighbourhood has been maligned by the tabloids as home of work-shy, cultureless Chavs. The sociologist Les Back, who grew up there, reports on an annual celebration of community.

Stuart Hall: a bright star

He was committed to intervening publically on key political questions: he never followed a narrow academic path but knew theory was an essential lens for critique. Obituary.

Husby and territorial stigma in Sweden

This statement appeared at the beginning of June in the Swedish broadsheet SVD, calling for a public investigation into the recent uprisings in Swedish suburbs.

A hundred years of bombing: what has it done to us?

November 2011 marks the centenary of a world-historic event. An Italian pilot, Guilio Cavotti dropped the first bombs from an aeroplane on to the oasis of Tagiura outside Tripoli. The development of aerial bombardment was more than just a military revolution. It changed both war and peace. openDemocracy is the media partner for Shock and Awe: a hundred years of bombing from above and this is an invitation to a debate.

Xenophobia: Europe’s death knell

The Europe that is dying is the one that remains hostage to its past. Another Europe is not only possible but is in fact fast becoming an urgent necessity. This would be a Europe of vitality, open to connections, that has let go of its civilisational conceits

God Save the Queen - The Pistols' Jubilee

Twenty-five years ago, punk exploded into Britain’s last royal jubilee. Has that extraordinary moment itself become a subordinate part of the national heritage, or is the radical anger that inspired it still germinating beneath the thrones of power?

Love's Repair

A prophetic thirty-year old song illuminates a deep truth: that the language of our hearts and our public life is in urgent need of regeneration. And that can only come from within.
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