I have very much enjoyed listening to "I, Claudius" which has been dramatised for Radio Four. It set me thinking about our visit to Rome last Winter and how relaxed we found this beautiful city.
Breaking news, however, shows rioting and police everywhere. It seems that Europe cannon settle this year and that we may as well get used to street encounters that are frightening in the extreme.
There is one question that has been raised by all this activity. What would it be like to spend time studying alongside people whose methods for getting their own way are so heavy handed?
Will the hoodies who rampage through the street settle into academic life and set to writing papers that analyse contemporary society reasonably?
It's worth recording that everyone I know in Ireland paid uni fees and that we took work abroad for months so that we could buy books and not be a drain on the people round us. It offered opportunities that would never have been available at home. I worked for some weeks as a "femme de service" which sounds dramatic but which actually just means "wardsmaid". It was an eye-opener as I had no experience up to that time of hospital life.
Such experiences were not tested in final exams, but they have turned out to be much more useful when it comes to real life. Nobody ever asks me about my opinion of Ronsard. Medical questions turn up all the time.
Anyways... I find that I am going back to sociology books, notably Giddens to try to make some sense of current affairs.
Let's hope amicable resolutions can be found to all the problems that the news reports every day. Otherwise we are going to have a fairly horrible 2011.
Labels: current affairs, sociology