A feather in your cap: inside the symbolic universe of Renaissance Europe

02 Nov 2017

Today, feathers are an extravagant accessory in fashion; 500 years ago, however, they were used to constitute culture, artistry, good health and even courage in battle. This unlikely material is now part of a project that promises to tell us more not only about what happened in the past, but also about how it felt to be there.

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Why be human when you can be otherkin?

16 Jul 2016

As social beings, a sense of identity plays an important role in our relations – and in our own happiness. But identity doesn’t have to be narrowly human. In an essay looking at the groups that exist on the edge of conventional boundaries, and are often subject to prurience and ridicule, Pedro Feijó considers those who feel different, other than human.

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Mongolia: unravelling the troubled narratives of a nation

27 Feb 2015

In two separate books, anthropologists Dr Franck Billé and Dr Christopher Kaplonski look at the identity of Mongolia, a country that stands at a cultural and political crossroads.  While Billé explores Mongolia’s relationship with its powerful neighbours, Kaplonski revisits a dark period in the country’s recent history.

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Creating a shared resource for the endangered culture of the Kalmyks

21 Sep 2014

Almost four centuries ago, ancestors of the Kalmyk people trekked across central Asia to form a Buddhist nation on the edge of Europe. Today Kalmyk communities are scattered across Eurasia, with the largest group in the Republic of Kalmykia.

A new project will document Kalmyk heritage to produce an open-access online resource to help Kalmyk communities revive their culture. 

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I’ve been working like a dog: revisiting a 1960s study of the working class

10 Jul 2014

The Beatles' song A Hard Day’s Night was released 50 years ago today. Its runaway success in the charts overlapped with a major sociological study of the newly-affluent working class that features in Lennon and McCartney’s lyrics. Cambridge historian Dr Jon Lawrence discusses what this study reveals about perceptions of class identity in 1960s Britain. 

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Citizens of the flow

24 Feb 2014

New research from the Department of Sociology is looking at how rhetoric and policy shape immigrant identities, attitudes and behaviour in Europe.

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The public eye?

06 Feb 2014

The largest biometric programme in history – collecting iris and fingerprint patterns of 1.2 billion people in three years – aims to improve the quality of life for some of India’s most disadvantaged and marginalised citizens by “giving the poor an identity.”

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