Author Archives: Robert de Vries

About Robert de Vries

I'm an Early Career Research Fellow in the Sociology department at the University of Oxford. I'm mainly interested in how people are affected by concerns about their social status; how it colours the way they think, feel, and behave. I try and contribute here regularly, but my addiction to writing excessively long posts keeps getting in the way.

Exploring TV’s new obsession with ‘Poverty Porn’

One of our regular readers, Jayne Linney, runs a fascinating blog over at In one of her recent posts she examines the renewed surge of interest in patronising documentaries about poor communities. Definitely worth a read:  

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An instinct for fairness?

I’m just now getting around to reading Joseph Stiglitz’s book from last year The Price of Inequality. There’s lots of interesting stuff in there, some of which I may end up talking about here on the blog. But as I was … Continue reading

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Practical privilege

We don’t usually just post links to other articles here, but I was really impressed by this honest description of privilege from the side of the privileged. He really nails how his path into his career was so much easier … Continue reading

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The Habits of Highly Annoying Get-Rich Gurus

Sorry for the extended holiday hiatus everyone. Both Brendan and I have been really busy and have struggled to find time for blogging. But now we’re back, so why not let us start the year with something horribly depressing and … Continue reading

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The Boris Johnson ‘Cornflake’ model of social mobility

There are some Boris Johnson news stories we can all enjoy. Like that time he fell in a river. Or when he got stuck up on a zip-wire. Or even when he rescued that woman being menaced by youths – … Continue reading

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What are elite universities for?

A perennial question in higher education is whether elite institutions like Oxford and Cambridge are doing enough to recruit people from outside the traditional pool of white private-school kids. Every year we have the same conversation, and reach the same … Continue reading

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The problem of low pay

Low pay is a huge problem in the UK. Of the 11 million people currently living in poverty, 6 million have jobs. Some of this is due to under-employment – people who work, but can’t get full-time hours – but … Continue reading

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Do people always create the same status hierarchies?

It’s been a while since we talked about the inequality hypothesis on this blog. It’s also been a while since I’ve seen any coverage of it elsewhere. For certain politicians and commentators on the left it seems to have settled … Continue reading

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Money worries are cognitive handicap for poor people

I’ve been meaning to write about this for a while, but am only just now getting around to it. At the end of August, Science published a paper showing that worrying about money has a significant impact on poor people’s … Continue reading

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Should we get rid of corporation tax (part 2)

In the last post I talked about why so many people endorse the idea of completely scrapping corporation tax.  To briefly reiterate the main arguments: We don’t know who mostly bears the costs of corporation tax. So if what we … Continue reading

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