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A Brief History of Nakedness

April 21st, 2010

Next on ‘Thinking Allowed’: Today, 16:00 on BBC Radio 4


Nakedness can thrill, it can disgust, it can humiliate, amuse and entertain. The sight of humans without clothes provokes powerful and contradictory impressions: it is both the shame of Adam and Eve as they are expelled from Eden and the purity of Jesus as he is baptised; both the humiliation of prisoners at Abu Ghraib and the exuberance of young people at a rock festival. The power of the taboo against nakedness in Western culture has meant that it is a potent form of protest, but as films like the Full Monty and plays like Calendar Girls bring it into the mainstream, have our attitudes to nakedness changed? Laurie discusses A Brief History of Nakedness with its author Philip Carr-Gomm and the sociologist Angela McRobbie.
Also, the geographer Danny Dorling argues that inequality in the rich world is perpetuated by five ingrained beliefs: elitism is efficient; exclusion is necessary; prejudice is natural; greed is good; despair is inevitable. He uses his social research to argue that those beliefs are nothing more than myths.

Hear the programme here.