Born in Pompey (AKA Portsmouth) of Australian parentage, Bill Thompson brings a wealth of real life experience (including market street trader, museum archivist and barristers clerk) and study to his teaching and research at Reading for his courses on Mass Media, and Human Sexualities.
While teaching Sociology and Enlightenment philosophy at Essex, and Sociology and Political Science at Cambridge, Bill concentrated upon the sociology of law creation, morality, and sexual minorities; and, in 1987, conducted a major Minority Rights Survey for Southampton City Council.
Since coming to Reading, Bill has specialized in the sociology of sexually orientated material, false allegations of sexual assaults, and False Memory Syndrome. His advice has been sought by barristers, solicitors and Guardian Ad. Litum's; and he has appeared in over 20 court cases as an expert witness. Being a practicing associate of the British Academy of Experts makes him – a real-life ‘cracker’.
He is probably best known for his research in debunking the Satanic Ritual Abuse myths and for his ethnographic study of the Orkney case. His work on interview techniques reopened the Ayrshire Case, and helped secure the collapse of the prosecution in Bishop Auckland. He also authored half a dozen teaching monographs for social workers dealing with multiple ‘abuse’ claims, including a full scale simulation.
You have probably seen Bill on TV or heard him on the radio, being one of most popular media sociologists, covering subjects ranging from ‘Child Sex Abuse’ to the ‘Princess of
Wales’. His work urban legends, bogus social workers, and lying has also been featured in the academic, regional and national press.
Bill aims to produce research and publications with a practical pay off. Apart from the media, his research has been submitted to the Law Commission and Home Office, lead to a place on the Advisory Board of the British False Memory Foundation, helped alter the law, informed Public Inquires, and helped many individuals – including securing the release of Patrick Nichols who had spent 23 in jail for a murder than never happened!
His publications include: articles on Moral Crusades and Media Censorship, Britains Moral Majority, Gay activism, How to present academic research in the media, and the Social and Political Impact of Charismatic Christianity; and the books Soft-Core: Moral Crusades Against pornography in Britain and America., and Sadomasochism: Painful Perversion or Pleasurable Play.
This eclectic background makes Bill a very popular teacher and sought after dissertation supervisor. Former students have gone on to conduct important research into HIV, and suicide.