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Student Guide

All students should read novels, social scientist urges

By Martin Herrema | 21st Apr 2017

Novels should be part of every degree if courses are to represent anything more than technical training.

That is the view of the University's Professor Peter Taylor-Gooby. Writing in the Times Higher Education (THE), he urges all students to read novels to provide them with access to the lived experiences of others.

A social scientist turned novelist himself, Professor Taylor-Gooby says he feels novels help students 'build their understanding of how the world really looks and feels'.

In his article he urges all students, whatever their discipline, to read and discuss serious literature in which people make choices.
Examples provided by Professor Taylor-Gooby include Ian McEwan's Atonement, Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale and Toni Morrison's Beloved.

But, he writes, 'it is impossible to prescribe exactly which titles students should read; the important thing is that they should be asked to discuss them: explore the range of possible understandings and their justification'.

Peter Taylor-Gooby is Professor of Social Policy within the School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research. He is author of The Baby Auction (2016) and Ardent Justice (2017).

The THE article was published on 20 April.

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