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December 9th, 2014

Reading List: Our guide to the perfect podcasts for social scientists to listen to through Christmas and New Year 2014/2015


Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

blog admin

December 9th, 2014

Reading List: Our guide to the perfect podcasts for social scientists to listen to through Christmas and New Year 2014/2015


Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Christmas Podcast list

Podcasts have seen a revival this year thanks to initiatives like Serial and the Radiotopia network. At LSE Review of Books, we advocate for academics to increase the impact of their work by creating their own podcasts. With the long winter break approaching, we’ve pulled together a selection of podcasts that will interest criminologists, psychologists, economists, and many other social science scholars. Cheryl Brumley, our Multimedia Editor, with the help of her blogging colleagues, recommends podcasts for academics of all hues to while away the break.

Podcasts for criminologists

I know that you are thinking, “This is probably another plug for Serial,” but not the case here. There are other podcasts out there that will sate your appetite for true crime. Criminal came on the scene this year with the aim of exploring how crime has affected a number of people: victims, perpetrators and those caught in the middle. The stories are unique and at times, unbelievable.

Recommended episode: This is a sad and haunting story about a guy whose life was ruined by a chance encounter and a feeling of indebtedness.

Podcasts for psychologists

Podcasts were made for psychologists. The best story-driven ones, and there are many of them, allow listeners to delve deep into an individual’s psyche by giving space for intimate reflections on life events and choices they’ve made. Love+Radio, a Radiotopia podcast, presents some of the most scandalous stories I’ve ever heard. The sound design is also awe-inspiring.

Recommended episode: In this classic episode, an unrepentant blackmailer talks about how she made $30,000 a week on illegal online-baiting and got away with it.

Podcasts for economists/statisticians

Sierra Williams, Managing Editor of the LSE Impact Blog says, “Tim Harford and the team behind the More or Less podcast consistently present helpful takes on the uses and misuses of statistics in everyday life, which makes it a great listen for both rigour-loving academics and for those like me that prefer a dose of evidence with our pop culture.”

Recommended episode: The UK coalition government’s new student loan system is put under scrutiny in this episode.

Podcasts for political scientists 

Chris Gilson, Managing Editor of LSE’s USA Politics & Policy Blog, USAPP, says, “Slate’s Political Gabfest is an entertaining, topical, and accessible look at what’s happening in American politics every week with three passionate (and funny) experts.”

Recommended episode: This went out during the war in Gaza this year.

Podcasts for gender studies scholars

Are you in the ‘Lean-In’ camp or the does the thought of reading Sheryl Sandberg make you shudder?

The Broad Experience podcast from American-based British producer and host, Ashley Milne-Tyte, is rapidly gaining recognition for its in-depth take on issues facing women in the workplace. ‘Having it all’ and the ‘glass-ceiling’ are oft-written and spoken about issues relating to women and work, but they are not the only ones. Milne-Tyte explores the wider-range of experiences women have on the job.

Recommended episode: This is not a usual one from the podcast series, but it’s on a provocative subject that gets you thinking.

Podcasts for international development scholars

I just got wind of the The Guardian’s Global Development Podcast and was impressed by its style and scope. It is well-produced and gives voice to development beneficiaries from around the globe rather than just showcasing the experts.

Recommended episode: In this episode, 13 year old girls around the world are asked about their future. It is both eye-opening and adorable.

Bonus: What to listen to when you’ve had enough of carols and TV Christmas specials

Radiolab: This is a radio show put out by WNYC but it has gained international fame as a podcast. Radiolab features complex stories told in a highly-stylised and engaging form. My favourite episode from this year discusses rap music’s evolution from the street to EDM-laced pseudo-pop:

IMAGE CREDITS: Pug: zoomar BY-NC; Christmas boots: Flood G. BY-NC-ND; iPhone: Doug BY-NC-ND via Flickr.

Cheryl Brumley is Multimedia Editor for the LSE Public Policy Group blogs. Cheryl is a graduate from the LSE with an MSc in Theory and History of International Relations. Cheryl is also a freelance radio reporter and producer. Her work has appeared on Deutsche Welle English and Public Radio International (upcoming). She previously worked for the BBC World Service radio programme, The Forum. She tweets @cherylbrumley

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This work by LSE Review of Books is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 UK: England & Wales.