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  • Social Sciences

The worrying future of trade in Africa

Africa is on the cusp of creating the African Continental Free Trade Area. This will be the first step on a long journey towards creating a single continental market with a customs union and free movement of people and investment – similar to the European Union.

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Connecting performance art and environmentalism

For many of us, the reality of global warming and environmental crisis induces an overwhelming sense of hopelessness because there seems to be a lack of real solutions for ecological catastrophes. The looming sense of crisis is the reason why people came out in droves to the Derwent River on an overcast day in June 2014 to participate in Washing the River, artist Yin Xiuzhen’s performance event in Hobart, Tasmania.
Audience members took brushes and mops to engage in a ceremonial act, taking part in the symbolic cleansing of a monumental stack of 162 frozen blocks of dark brown ice made from the water of the Derwent River.

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#MeToo and Mental Health: Gender Parity in the Field of Psychiatry

Psychiatry is not the only space in which women are silenced or burdened, but as a discipline it’s one lens through which we can analyse a larger phenomenon. Now more than ever, it’s essential to discuss, in real time, women’s experiences as health professionals and as patients in mental health services.

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Why morning people seek more variety

Imagine two consumers, John and Mary. During a typical morning, John sluggishly drags himself out of bed after snoozing the alarm clock several times. He then brushes his teeth, bleary eyed, and slowly makes his way to the kitchen. His wife, Mary, has already poured him a cup of coffee. She’s bright-eyed, dressed, and ready […]

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The Trump administration’s Africa policy

Does President Donald Trump have a policy on Africa, and if so what? The answer to this question is both interesting and revealing. President Trump does not seem to pay much attention to Africa. Apart from his well-publicised comments to a group of senators in January 2018 dismissing the whole of Africa as “shithole countries,” he has not […]

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Why even Mormons are pushing for LGBT inclusion

A decade ago, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was licking its wounds after its disastrous involvement in California’s Proposition 8. The church had won a coveted victory—Proposition 8 passed, effectively outlawing same-sex marriage in the state—but lost the war of public opinion. When Americans found out that Mormons had funded an estimated 50%–70% […]

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The effects of junk science on LGBTQ mental health

Studies and statistics can be interpreted in wildly different ways. It’s concerning how false and misleading uses of data collected about LGBTQ people affect our communities. In general, studies and resulting data about LGBTQ people and mental health are a positive step in moving toward culturally competent mental health care for all. For example, the Williams […]

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Water scarcity, warfare, and the paradox of value

Back in 1995, then World Bank Vice President Ismail Serageldin made an important prediction about the future: “The wars of the next century will be fought over water.” Thankfully, No wars have been fought strictly over water in modern history. In fact globally the number of international agreements over water far exceeds the number of international conflicts. That paradox shows that water can be just as powerful a driver of cooperation as of conflict between nations, regions, and communities. But that doesn’t mean Serageldin is wrong.

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Investing in women’s reproductive health makes economic sense

There is no gender equality without access to reproductive health services, including access to contraceptives and safe abortions. In fact, economists are paying increasing attention to the economic benefits of investing in women’s reproductive health and finding gains not only for women but also for their families and for the economy at large.

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Using economics to find the greatest superhero

In case you missed it, the world was recently saved by the Avengers, a Marvel Comics superhero, super-team who defeated Thanos, a genocidal maniac of galactic proportions. However, the real victory belongs to Disney, which owns the Marvel movie properties. Avengers: Endgame annihilated the record for the largest opening weekend box office haul, raking in […]

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Is social media a platform for supporting or attacking refugees?

On March 15th 2019, a white nationalist opened fire during Friday prayers, killing fifty Muslims and injuring at least fifty others in two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. The attack was the largest mass shooting in New Zealand’s history and came as a shock to the small and remote island nation which generally sees itself as free from the extreme violence and terrorism seen elsewhere in the world.

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Should the people always get what they want from their politicians?

Should we listen to the voice of “the people” or the conviction of their representatives? Britain’s vote to leave the European Union has inspired virulent debate about the answer. Amidst Theresa May’s repeated failure to pass her Brexit deal in the House of Commons this spring, the Prime Minister appealed directly to the frustrations and feelings of the people. “You the public have had enough,” she asserted in a speech of March 20.

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Why banishment was “toleration” in Puritan settlements

Typically, sociologists explain the growth of religious toleration as a result of people demanding religious freedom, ideals supporting tolerance becoming more prevalent, or shifting power relations among religious groups. By any of these accounts, Puritan New England was not a society where religious toleration flourished. Yet, when contrasted to a coterminous Puritan venture on Providence Island, it becomes clear that New England’s orthodox elite did […]

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Why politicians do care what the UN thinks

In a January 2019 press briefing at the White House, US National Security Adviser John Bolton flashed a legal pad with “5,000 troops to Colombia” written on it, a not-so hidden message to contested Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro that the United States was considering sending troops to the region. Maduro is presiding over a Venezuela in economic […]

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