BBC Radio 4 - Thinking Allowed, HG Wells, Utopias, Paraphernalia

HG Wells was so involved in establishing sociology in this country that he wrote to Prime Minister Balfour to ask for a special endowment so he could give up on his novels. His emphasis was on utopias, he felt that social science could only progress if an ideal version of society was created with which to compare our own. He lost his battle but the sociologist Ruth Levitas tells Laurie that sociology has become boring and that Wells was right!

Also, some everyday things - keys, combs, glasses - have the ability to enchant or absorb. Laurie Taylor talks to Steven Connor and Michael Bywater about how paraphernalia can have an almost magical power.