You are on page 1of 26

The British Journal of Sociology 2006 Volume 57 Issue 4

Book reviews

Adkins, Lisa and Skeggs, Beverley (eds) Bourdieu in drawing upon areas of social
Feminism After Bourdieu Blackwell thought such as phenomenology and herme-
Publishing 2005 258 pp. 17.99 (paperback) neutics (as aspects of the social), and go on
to indicate how they may be brought to bear
How are we to assess the intellectual legacy on central questions about the reconstitu-
of the late Pierre Bourdieu? Few questions tion of gender in feminist thought. A
attract greater attention within contempo- weighty emphasis upon Bourdieus concep-
rary feminist debate than this. Now, with the tual notion of the social (e.g., cultural field,
appearance of Feminism After Bourdieu, we habitus, agency, symbolic violence) as sites
are fortunate to have, thanks to Lisa Adkins for action, and the implied and constrained
and Beverley Skeggs, an outstanding set of role of gendered agents runs throughout
new contributions to the debate which these important introductory essays.
promise not only to inform and enrich it, but The essays gathered in Section One of the
also to direct it into the future. In doing so, volume focus upon the importance of recon-
perhaps one of the most significant achieve- ceptualizing class and gender in contempo-
ments of this exemplary edited collection is rary times. Terry Lovell reviews the
to show us that seemingly opposed theoreti- importance for feminist thought of main-
cal positions on Bourdieus legacy may in taining strong links between gender and
fact have more in common than might have class, whilst Diane Reay powerfully extends
been originally supposed. Bourdieus notion of capital to the cultural
In their incisive and highly illuminating realm of emotions. Skeggs herself then
introductions to the collection, Adkins and moves forward to historicize the gendered
Skeggs seek to establish the nature of the nature of selfhood as it has been articulated
promise which Bourdieu holds for feminist within political theory and notions of the
scholarship and social theory alike, demon- state over time.
strating convincingly that both domains are Section Two explores the ways in which
in need of Bourdieus insights now, more Bourdieus vast thinking might be applied to
than ever. They argue that part of the unex- the study of gendered forms of individual-
pected capacity of Bourdieus body of ization and the intervening role that class
work to open itself out to contemporary plays in this process. The contributors here
feminism paradoxically lies in its argue that feminist theory conceived in
under-conceptualization of gender as a broadly cultural, social and historical terms
socio-cultural concept. Adkins and Skeggs is not only significant for interpreting the
conjointly assert the utility, for feminist changing nature of gender over time, but
scholarship, of the example offered by also reflects important changes in how

London School of Economics and Political Science 2006 ISSN 0007-1315 print/1468-4446 online.
Published by Blackwell Publishing Ltd, 9600 Garsington Road, Oxford OX4 2DQ, UK and 350 Main Street, Malden,
MA 02148, USA on behalf of the LSE. DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-4446.2006.00133.x
710 Book reviews

feminists have come to conceptualize and for the social and cultural theory fields in
integrate aspects of the social into their cul- general (p. 3). A defining strength of the
tural theorizing. McRobbies account of the work is that its contributors do not seek to
intersection between class, consumption, ground their arguments in any one disci-
gender and the dominating role of the media pline, or to offer easy answers to the ques-
in regulating and classifying female bodies tion of how feminist theory might work
(and the very nature of gendered embodi- with Bourdieu or vice versa. The work also
ment) is especially important here, as is gives short shrift to any idea of Bourdieu as
Lawlers novel thinking about the cultural a dangerous intellectual temptation which
articulations of identity and habitus, may end with the conquest of feminist
Vittelones cultural conceptions of the link thought by social theory. Quite the reverse:
between gender and substance abuse, and Bourdieu is instead here presented as an
Fowlers Bourdieusian treatment of the enduring possibility rather than as a theo-
obituary as a transformed mode of classifi- retical threat or potential enemy to femi-
cation and stratification also offer highly nist thought.
stimulating treatments. If we are to build further upon the accu-
Section Three sees normative sociological mulated achievements of feminist theory
concepts return to the forefront, though in across recent decades, then sustained atten-
the dramatically revised form associated tion to the seminal work of Pierre Bourdieu
with the work of Lois McNay. In the current will remain of central importance for each
collection, McNays piece on the role of one of us, and rightly so. And in taking
agency as a mediating concept for the divide forward this collective task, each of us will
between materialist and culturalist accounts also recognize our indebtedness to the
of gender stands as a fine example of how we scholars who have contributed to this
might work with Bourdieus ideas to navi- immensely important and inspiring volume.
gate the apparent divisions between cultur- Jo-Anne Dillabough
alist expressions of gender within feminist University of British Columbia, Vancouver,
theory and social thought. Similarly instruc- BC., Canada
tive is Adkins argument that Bourdieus
idea of reflexivity may usefully be set to
work as long as it is uncoupled conceptually Aspers, P. Markets in Fashion. A
from concepts such as individualization. Pro- Phenomenological Approach Routledge
byns attempt to encapsulate emotions 2006 240 pp. 75.00 (hardback)
through the concept of the habitus is a cre-
ative exercise in rethinking its very logic, Can fashion photography be treated as a
whilst Witzs critical reading of Bourdieus market instead of an art? Can the sociologi-
canonical structuralism alerts us to the cal study of markets gain insights from this
temporal limitations of Bourdieus thinking treatment? Moreover: can a phenomeno-
for feminism. logical analysis of fashion photography con-
Feminism After Bourdieu is without tribute to a better understanding of how
doubt one of the best resources currently markets work? These are challenging
available to us for understanding the life- questions. While there have been some very
time work of Pierre Bourdieu and its valuable recent studies of art markets, none
power and potential for recasting debates has, to my knowledge, focused on the pro-
about gender in feminist thought. It is a cesses of art production as intrinsic to
work which is noteworthy for its highly market transactions. In its turn, phenom-
innovative intellectual scope, and for the enology has certainly influenced the study of
impressive extent of its reach in covering a markets, as witnessed in several recent pub-
range of conceptual work mark[ing] new lications; yet, we had missed a broader and
territories not just for feminist inquiry, but more systematic study conducted from this

London School of Economics and Political Science 2006 British Journal of Sociology 57(4)
Book reviews 711

perspective. In this re-publication of the these markets photographers do not only

book published in 2001 by Stockholms City monitor each other, but also their custom-
University Press, Patrik Aspers sets about ers, be they fashion editors or art directors
filling these gaps by examining how Swedish of advertising companies. It appears that
fashion photography is constituted into a markets with a limited number of major,
system of economic exchanges grafted upon well-known buyers are structured differ-
social networks. It is an entertaining, instruc- ently from anonymous consumer markets.
tive, methodical book, offering readers a Very much revolves around status in this
wealth of insights into the (from this read- book, both in the ethnographic analysis of
ers perspective) distant world of fashion markets and in the theoretical framing, an
photography. Aspers, who has a background innovative move which shifts the spotlight
as a part time professional photographer, from resource allocation, need and utility
has firsthand knowledge of the field, as constituting the finality of market pro-
enriched through ethnographic observation cesses to identity and status as the markets
and in depth interviews. In his study he com- ultimate driving engines. This is a genuine
bines ethnographic and statistical methods non-functionalist perspective and Asperss
with the bulk of the empirical evidence book contains a number of very interesting,
coming from ethnographys side. While the yet unexplored theoretical statements
study itself is theoretically rich, it is comple- about markets as unintended outcomes of
mented by an extensive appendix on socio- identity-building processes, or about prices
logical phenomenology. as epiphenomena of status distributions. I
Pausing on the theoretical perspective of had the strong feeling that these are truly
this book for a moment, it should be men- productive starting points for a sociological
tioned here that phenomenology is not the exploration of markets; their detailed theo-
only approach used in framing the authors retical elaboration would have been more
analysis. In fact, the introductory chapters than welcome. One aspect which somehow
deal mainly with the network-structural slips out of view in this rich and rewarding
approach (which I see as an innovative ethnography is pricing. In opposition to
version of systems theory) championed in other recent investigations of art markets,
economic sociology by Harrison White and Aspers spends relatively little effort on
Joel Podolny, among others. In this systems- researching the mechanisms for pricing
theoretical perspective, markets are struc- fashion photographs, mechanisms which
tured networks of actors who monitor each could involve sets of social routines, as well
others actions. The structuring takes the as procedures for translating aesthetic
form of internal and external status hierar- perception into price tags. Nevertheless,
chies; the participants use reciprocal moni- Markets in Fashion is an original, empiri-
toring in order to infer knowledge about cally detailed and theoretically rewarding
the other side of the transaction (i.e., the book, which shows how a micro-analytical
consumers). The market appears as a approach can advance our understanding
mirror or an interface in which the image of economic phenomena.
of the consumer is re-constituted from the Alex Preda
reciprocal observation of producers. Conse- University of Edinburgh
quently, we encounter two main theses:
first, in markets, status is everything.
Second, reciprocal observation is a key Baudrillard, J. The Intelligence of Evil or
mechanism for maintaining or adjusting the Lucidity Pact Berg 2005 215 pp. 35.00
status. (hardback) 9.99 (paperback)
Asperss study both confirms and discon-
firms these tenets. Yes, in fashion photogra- Jean Baudrillard is one of the best-known
phy markets status is everything. And no, in theorists (or in his own terms, anti-theorists)

British Journal of Sociology 57(4) London School of Economics and Political Science 2006
712 Book reviews

of hyperreality in contemporary social that follow are divided into four groups,
theory. His intellectual odyssey has ranged each made up of fragmentary meditations
across the spectrum of radical social and cul- on some consequential geo-political event
tural analysis from an early Marxist phase or phenomenon.
(c. 1960 to 1968), the criticism of orthodox To avoid complicity with conventional
Marxism (in his influential For a Critique of critical enquiry Baudrillard forges an alter-
the Political Economy of the Sign (1972) and native genre of non-sociological, non-
The Mirror of Production (1973)), a critical philosophical theory-fictions. What groups
engagement with modern consumerism in these fragments and fictions is a concern
The Consumer Society (1970) to reflections for the resilience of evil (which here
on symbolic exchange (Symbolic Exchange appears as an image of whatever resists
and Death, 1976) and contemporary mass totalization or what Baudrillard now calls
media, virtual reality, and the realms of Integral Reality in contemporary life). In
hyperreality (in Simulations (1983) and sub- place of critical research on the dynamics
sequent writings). of virtualization and globalization Baudril-
Baudrillards intellectual task throughout lard resorts to aphorisms and sayings
the 1980s and 1990s was to document the (Reality has fallen prey to Virtual Reality,
end of the Real and its displacement by p. 27; Integral Reality is a utopia. And yet
simulated hyperreal worlds. Hyperreality this is what, by gigantic artifice, is being
refers to the generation by models of a real imposed upon us, p. 31; There is no hidden
without origin or reality: a hyperreal. The truth, p. 61; There is no objectivity, p. 39;
territory no longer precedes the map, nor . . . we move from the mirror to the total
survives it . . . it is the map that engenders screen of Virtual Reality, p. 42). The cumu-
the territory (Simulations, 1983 p. 2). As a lative effect of these incantations is what
self-conscious intellectual provocateur we might call the Matrix view of virtualiza-
Baudrillards aim was to explore the fact tion Integral Reality is all there is,
that after the end of the Real we have come whatever is Real is now manufactured
to inhabit an epoch where the Code rules in a seamless, wall-to-wall operation
supreme, where the real is generated from of simulation (the domination of the
coded models, stored in memory banks and Virtual, p. 82, the policing of events is
digitalized technologies manipulated by essentially carried out by information
global power networks. itself, p. 121).
Chris Turners translation of Baudrillard Of the collection as a whole we can say
Le Pacte de lucidit ou lintelligence du Mal that the occasional tangential points at
(The Intelligence of Evil or the Lucidity Pact, which Baudrillards reflections meet the
first published in 2004) makes available actual socioeconomic, political and cultural
Baudrillards most recent ruminations on processes of globalization is the nearest
the implications of globalized hyperreality Baudrillard comes to critical research on the
for contemporary culture and politics life. dynamics of the new world order. In place of
According to the present book the emerging critique we are left with the apocalyptical
world order now raises the logics of simula- aftermath of philosophy (or anti-
tion and symbolic exchange to a truly global philosophy). Yet Baudrillards apocalyptical
plane. reflections on the end of society, the end of
Like many of Baudrillards earlier books history, the end of art, the end of ends, etc.
this collection is essentially an ensemble of are still animated by an ethical concern, the
short lectures and essays, each devoted to concern to reveal the truth about total vir-
one aspect of the larger theme of total tualization and to resist totalization in the
virtualization. The translator provides a name of truth. Unfortunately as this idea of
useful overview of Baudrillards position in a truth beyond the Virtual has no name and
his introduction (pp. 116) and the essays remains untheorised it can only be indicated

London School of Economics and Political Science 2006 British Journal of Sociology 57(4)
Book reviews 713

by the empty gesture of an intelligence of global competition and the supply-side

Evil. emphasis in New Labour policy. If New
Barry Sandywell Labour is finally getting the message about
University of York the supply-side emphasis on skills, the idea
that institutionalism is responsible for New
Labours commitment to the transforma-
Bevir, Mark New Labour: A Critique tive power of clusters and networks still
Routledge 2005 224 pp. 19.99 (paperback) hits the nail on the head. Bevirs analysis of
New Labour values particularly the
Given that some of the material in this emphasis on responsibility and duty rather
short book has already appeared in jour- than rights which derive from communi-
nals, it is not surprising that it seems a little tarianism is also just as relevant as ever, but
dated in places. We might not read it for there is plenty to be learned here that can
information on current New Labour policy be applied beyond New Labour as well.
but do need to know what it has to say Objectification is identified as the founda-
about the relationship between New tion of all the claims which are made for
Labour and social science. Bevir argues the supremacy of expertise: institutions and
that New Labour has relied on expert solu- organizations are objectified by the institu-
tions which are unhelpful, even damaging. tionalists, communities and their shared
The problem is not that these are the values are objectified by the communitar-
wrong expert solutions but, rather, exper- ians. The examples of objectification may
tise cannot accomplish what it claims and change but this is a lesson for critics of
does not deserve the prominence it has other governments and other policies.
been given in government. Unpacking the process of objectification
Some of the early parts of the book are makes the whole New Labour project seem
taken up with attempts to position the contingent and contestable.
author, and the sources of expertise that he Bevir argues for pluralism against objec-
wishes to critique, within political science. tification but he runs into problems when
We are also told that New Labours seduc- persuading us that this can be more than a
tion by expert solutions was not simply a slogan. Whatever Tony Blair may feel about
matter of adopting an agenda of marketiza- pluralism, there have been more attempts to
tion or new public management inherited involve associations in governance while
from the New Right. The expert solutions New Labour has been in power than Bevir
which Bevir wishes to target are, rather, the allows for. Nor does he warn us that plural-
new institutionalism (networks rather than ism can easily misfire because of the apathy
hierarchies and markets, and joined-up gov- of the large majority who do not join
ernance) and communitarianism (some- associations. Bevir wants to attach moral
times including social capital theory). Now it value to . . . situated agency but this must be
becomes clear that Bevirs analysis is as rel- a common conviction amongst the citizenry,
evant to sociologists as to political scientists: as well as amongst social scientists, for plu-
the crucial break between the New Right ralism to work in the way he wants. Without
and institutionalism or communitarianism it, New Labour can bring associations into
lies in the importance attached to sociality governance but they will still represent even
and solidarity. We might be forgiven for fewer people than can be persuaded to vote
wondering if the sins of New Labour could for them at elections. Bevir is scathing of
be laid at the door of a whole tradition of the communitarian emphasis on virtue but
sociology rather than one or two prominent perhaps we need it if the majority are ever to
sociologists. be bothered to deliberate?
Bevirs analysis seems pertinent and Ralph Fevre
fresh when he critiques the imperatives of Cardiff University

British Journal of Sociology 57(4) London School of Economics and Political Science 2006
714 Book reviews

Brown, Jacqueline Nassy Dropping Anchor, tion in Liverpool is produced (p. 265 fn 14).
Setting Sail Geographies of Race in It is this diligent exposition of the specificity
Black Liverpool Wiley 2005 306 pp. 13.95 of place which justifies Browns use of
(paperback) geographies in the books title.
The application of what my LBB email
More than ever, this book demands that the friend calls postmodern theory will incite
reader bears in mind the insights from critique from some sociologists. In so far as
literary/cultural studies that we all read from the book eschews conventional historiogra-
a position and as a part of a collection of phies of the economic imperialism which
readers. At first encounter, this seems to be drew African seamen to Liverpool more
an anthropology of the black population(s) than a century ago; says little about the
of Liverpool, so I tried to read it from my bitter racism that excluded them and their
position as a white sociologist who attempts offspring from mainstream life in the city;
to stand outside and against racist discourse. and wears its politics very lightly, such oppo-
Simultaneously, I wondered how my black sition is understandable. But the geogra-
friend, who left Liverpool 8 (Brown insists phers and sociologists whose work seems to
on these quote marks) for London many me to underlie Browns analysis Doreen
years ago, would read this book. Just as I was Massey, David Harvey, Paul Gilroy are not
becoming entranced by this complex, properly defined as postmodern, and each of
layered, theoretically informed, beautifully them have been at the forefront of the
written ethnography I started an email cor- radical, critical, and politically progressive
respondence with an expatriate Liverpool developments in their disciplines. At least,
Born Black (Brown explains the genealogy that is how I read them. But I now see how
and importance of this LBB formulation) negative uses of the term postmodern
whose academic work on Liverpool is occa- might encapsulate the view that some aca-
sionally referred to here. He explained why demics have retreated from the full assault
he did not share my admiration. So I had to on racism that should be expected of us.
re-think my response, and this review should Bearing this in mind, I would still argue
exhibit the re-readings that I was forced to that this book makes an important contribu-
undertake. tion to the history of Liverpool, including
Jacqueline Nassy Brown explains her significant work on the infamous Fletcher
intentions in various ways: it is a book (by a Report (1928) and the 1981 riots; it includes
black American outsider) about England/ a profound discussion of the field of
Britain as glimpsed from the vantage point diaspora studies; it disguises interesting
of Liverpool, where Liverpool is itself observations on method with the amusing
understood as a production of a national concept of fluidarity (p. 260 fn 2); and it
political culture concerning place (p. 245). manages to completely avoid a chapter title
More specifically, Brown wants to demon- including the word identity. But it is under
strate that, for black people in Liverpool, it a heading like identity that we find some of
is place which produces race. She lines up Browns most useful insights. Her nuanced
with, and applies to Liverpool, the argu- account of the difference between LBB men
ment about Englishness made by Ian and LBB women in their constructions of
Baucomb (1999: 4), which she quotes: black American servicemen in Liverpool is
Englishness has consistently been defined both informative and poignant. She shows
through appeals to the identity endowing how the decoupl[ing] of race and body
properties of place (p. 12). She regards (one of Black Britains most radical
place as an ideological abstraction which moves) (p. 197) has taken place in
commands legitimacy (p. 100), and a discur- Liverpool. Admitting that she was amazed
sive construct (p. 133) which, through the and confounded (p. 71) when she first
reification of the local . . . Black identifica- encountered the political definition of

London School of Economics and Political Science 2006 British Journal of Sociology 57(4)
Book reviews 715

Blackness introduced by the Liverpool energetic drives. Hence, this is not a book
Black Organisation, she reveals that a white about the more specific emotions such as
woman who has a black child is accepted as rage or envy so topical these days; rather its
black by LBBs. (Nevertheless, she is always focus is upon what Collins calls EE emo-
alive to the contest over this de-coupling tional energy.This can vary from great inten-
process, and alludes to those who continue sity, enthusiasm and focus through to much
to essentialize race in phenotype.) Browns weaker, slackened and less focused
investigation of whiteness includes a emotionality. For Collins, EE seeking is the
remarkable account of the momentous and master motive across all institutional arenas
transformative . . . cosmopolitan desires (p. (p. xv). It aims to provide a theory of
237) and ethical worldliness (p. 218) of moment to moment motivation, situation by
white women in Liverpool. situation (p. 45). And thinking itself is
Dropping Anchor, Setting Sail is a always charged with these emotions.
demanding read in the best possible sense of A full half of the book is given over to
the word demanding. It must play a major empirically grounded case study materials
role in helping us understand Blackness of sexual interactions and smoker cultures,
and Whiteness in Britain and the pecu- of conflict and stratification (and the ways
liarities of the local configurations of both of people are jolted up and down with esteem),
these intricate and intimate constructions. and of cultures which seem to be very low in
Max Farrar rituals cultures of individualism. Sexuality,
Leeds Metropolitan University for example, is one case study in the book
a theory of sexual interaction, which looks at
the what people actually do in erotic situa-
Collins, Randall Interaction Ritual Chains tions and how moments become eroticized.
Princeton and Oxford: Princeton Critical of socio-biological accounts, Collins
University Press 2004 440 pp. 35.95 places sexualities into contexts of interac-
(hardback) 24.95 (paperback) tion ritual chains (a concatenation of IR
chains), and suggests that In sexual desire,
If a central problem of social theory is to as everywhere else, human beings are pro-
pose the question what holds society grammed from the outside in (p. 370),
together?, then one classic (Durkheimian) sexual drive and sexual objects are con-
answer is that of social ritual and this is the structed situationally (p. 250). There is no
focus of Randall Collinss latest magnum primordial sexual urge awaiting repression.
opus. For many years, he has been suggesting And for him, this now means we have
the bridge between Durkheim and entered the most sexualized society the
Goffman, and the ways social analysis world has ever known. In this chapter he
should lie not just on the macro ritual (such discusses the various pre-conditions that
as waves of national solidarity), but also have brought this society and the sexual
upon the myriad local pockets which engulf interaction it brings into being from media
everyday life situations. Collins adopts the and youth cultures to gay scenes.
stance of the radical microsociologist, blend- Collins may well be Goffmans heir appar-
ing together the works of Goffman and the ent as the worlds leading micro-sociologist,
interactionists with those of Durkheim, he and he certainly has strong views on the role
suggests the central importance of emo- of micro-sociology. These days concerns
tional rituals as underpinning society with the interaction order per se are decid-
through what he calls the interaction ritual edly unfashionable. But Collins sees it as
chain (IR). IR chains motivate and like almost the foundation of sociology. He
markets, they push and pull people from writes tellingly of the weaknesses of macro-
situation to situation. Throughout history sociology which fails to convey an accurate
these chains have many different forms and picture of the social world; for him Nothing

British Journal of Sociology 57(4) London School of Economics and Political Science 2006
716 Book reviews

has reality unless it is manifested in a situa- close to their origins) where material
tion somewhere (p. 259), and macrostruc- wealth is distributed. Life routines involve
tures only have reality in so far as they are ritual chains with like minded in similar cir-
patterned aggregates that hold across cuits: financial elites, highly paid middle
micro-situations or networks of repeated classes, entrepreneurial classes, celebrities,
connections (p. 259). And these micro- occupational markets, illegal circuits, and a
situations always have a historical linkage. lower class on the outside who are almost
Collins wants to produce the elements of a outside of these kinds of circuits the
radical micro-sociology, but one that is fully homeless, beggars, scavengers but who
aware of histories, wider structures and nevertheless have their own circuits.
histories. For him, we are all socially con- I have only scraped the surface of a book
structed: all historically shaped (p. 372). He which itself leaves so much more to answer.
argues that the kinds of selves we have are Over-generalized statements abound; gaps
deeply historical, as indeed are the rituals we are striking; there is much to disagree with.
live through. Much seems derived from Yet this book is long, detailed and endlessly
Simmel: it is as if historical moments surprising. Photographic images are pro-
develop forms of ritual and their linked vided unusual in a theory book which
chains. Rather than the focus on personality, bring alive some of the chains as exemplars.
we are treated at regular intervals to highly Examples proliferate. There is the sense of a
suggestive ideal types of character forms: mind working on this project for a long time.
sometimes substantive work obsessed It is not a theory book which simply
individuals, social excluded people, alien- re-clothes old ideas, but one which with luck
ated introverts, solitary cultists and others which could become an influential and origi-
(pp. 35162).Types such as these appear from nal approach for a new generation of soci-
concatenations of space and time: buildings ologists, who may be challenged to take
such as factories, monasteries, churches, uni- some of its arguments seriously and flesh
versities and their organizations such as them out. It harbours a massive and impor-
stairwells, windows, doors, bedrooms. tant research agenda for the micro-
Part of the book starts to sketch a new sociologist. In the flood of books being
social ecology of kinds of interactions that issued these days, I hope it can make its
have shifted our identities and everyday mark.
experience (p. 290). Drawing from Ken Plummer
Luhmans functional specialization and University of Essex
Habermass colonization of the life world,
Collins suggests the bridges across interac-
tion and segments of the social world. A Cook, D. The Commodification of
key example of this is that of stratification. Childhood: The Childrens Clothing
This is so often at the core of macro- Industry and the Rise of the Child
sociology, and indeed measurement sociol- Consumer Duke University Press 2004 224
ogy. But for Collins, what we lack and what pp. 16.95 (paperback)
we need are situational surveys. He
attempts what he calls a micro-translation The role played by commercial markets in
of the Weberian dimensions of class, status the lives of children and their parents is a
and power (p. 263). Here, deference is subject of much popular and academic
especially important (as it was in the early debate. Dan Cooks foray into this realm is
Goffman), and he makes a plea for studies an important counter-weight to the causal,
of how such deference works across social sometimes casual, relationship often drawn
situations in contemporary society. For between consumption and the contamina-
instance, economic class is broken into a tion of childhood innocence. Cooks argu-
number of Zelizer circuits (as circuits stay ment is convincing: to understand the

London School of Economics and Political Science 2006 British Journal of Sociology 57(4)
Book reviews 717

construction of social categories, such as point of view, Cook shows how ideals of
childhood and adulthood, requires a taste and individual choice were extended to
socio-historical analysis of markets, which the youngest members of society. Consump-
are cultural sites where consuming selves tion becomes a principal means through
arise, transform and grow to the point of which children develop a sense of person-
co-creating other consuming selves (p. 145). hood; and their guardians become respon-
Childhoods and adulthoods are rendered sible for nurturing their independent senses
dynamic through the iterative relationship of self.
between markets, consumption and broader The demarcation of age and size in rela-
socio-economic and cultural conditions for tion to gender and femininity is the subject
example pedagogical discourses of child of chapter 5, while chapter 6 illustrates how
development, changing labour markets, and market creation is often the consequence of
socio-demographic shifts. Cook demon- the coalescence of social, cultural and eco-
strates these processes through intricate nomic changes as much as they are the result
cataloguing of how marketers latched onto, of insightful entrepreneurs. For it was the
cultivated and created discourses of child baby boom of the 1940s and 1950s that
needs. He does so in a manner which leaves made childrens consumption profitable, and
the reader in little doubt that the develop- the efforts of marketers in the 1920s and
ment of commercial markets has played a 1930s merely set in place the infrastructure
fundamental role in our often ambivalent necessary to react to an unpredictable social
understandings of contemporary children trend.
and childhood. This is a fascinating book which makes a
Taking the emerging market of ready- critical intervention into debates about
made child clothing in the first half of twen- childhood and consumer culture. It is beau-
tieth century North America, Cook details tifully written and engaging from the first
the relationship between childhood as a word. It is a slim book and its main weakness
socio-historical yet context specific social is that its detailed analysis ends in the 1950s.
construct, and how market actors (mer- The period after receives scant and some-
chants, manufacturers and advertisers) what generic attention. As a result few
appropriated and reconfigured this observations are drawn about the implica-
construct. The opening chapters succinctly tions of this study for theories of contempo-
weave together existing scholarship in the rary social change.This book could say much
sociology of childhood and the empirical about risk society and late-modernity,
analysis of childrens wear. Positioning itself consider contemporary conceptions of
within a moral economy of child (and moth- fatherhood (and motherhood), and examine
ers) welfare, the clothing industry produced resistance to childrens consumer culture.
successive refinements of a childrens con- Perhaps such issues are beyond the scope of
sumer culture. At the turn of the century the empirical data, but they are testament to
retail spaces increasingly acted as forums for the wide application of the concepts and
public discussion of child development theories that Cook develops. What remains
issues, and marketers developed acute is a crucial tension: the child as innocent
awareness of the concerns of middle-class versus the agentive and empowered child.
mothers. Such concerns were gradually This is a tension demanding of further
translated into market segmentation along research and Cook sets the foundations. A
the lines of age and gender. By the 1930s the must read for scholars in the sociologies of
category of toddler emerged within mar- childhood and consumption, and a book that
keting parlance. Chapter 4 details the signifi- would be embraced by under- and post-
cance of the toddler in the creation of child graduate students.
consumers. Coining the concept of pediocu- Dale Southerton
larity to capture a shift towards the childs The University of Manchester

British Journal of Sociology 57(4) London School of Economics and Political Science 2006
718 Book reviews

Dickens, P. Society and Nature: Changing so well for undergraduates as Bowlers

Our Environment, Changing Ourselves (1983) classic Evolution: the History of an
Polity 2004 286 pp. 55.00 (hardback) Idea now in its 3rd edition) and the key
17.99 (paperback) themes section in general is brief and inter-
esting, dealing with, alongside evolutionary
This book, sold as a student text, states that ideas: community, globalization, moderniza-
it is different from others on this subject tion and risk.
because it considers people as part of The substantive chapters (Ch.2 onwards)
nature and Dickens cites the central ques- cover the relationship between society and
tion as being how, as society transforms its nature in more detail exploring how indus-
environment, are peoples own natures try and meeting our physical needs impacts
being transformed? Herein lies a review on and is impacted upon by the
dilemma; if this book is for students then environment. Functionalism, Marxism and
students of what? Social sciences, primarily, modernity all give rise to the Risk Society as
but the book will appeal to others interested the boundary between humans and the basis
in environment and society including upon which we survive i.e. the environ-
natural scientists. ment grows more distinct. This distinction
Dickens looks upon the relationship (or problem) is most noticeable in
between society and nature as being itera- megacities. The commoditization of the
tive and symbiotic: society influences nature, environment is also covered, including the
yet nature in turn influences society. The dis- distinction between private and public
tinction is a blurred one. He notes that the consumption. The consumer society is posed
role of science as the driver of progress (p. as the final stage of social evolution, thereby
10 onwards) is being questioned and this linking back to the earlier evolutionary
thesis will interest sociologists of science. He ecology. Dickens concludes that the rise of
offers critical relativism as a way of under- consumerist, industrialist society has created
standing this change whereby: knowledge is as many problems as it has solved. He then
a process as well as a product, science is a goes on to examine the various theories
peculiar form of knowledge, knowledge can influenced by evolutionary psychology used
be stratified, and experiential knowledge to understand the relationship between
can critique evidence-based knowledge. society and nature and looks at the concept
Thus Dickens is calling for a more reflexive of community in the twenty-first century and
and reflective understanding of knowledge. its relationship to individual biology and
The book has a useful section of further then individual citizenship. Each section is
reading on history and philosophy of science related back to the theme of risk. Dickens
and social theory of the environment which book will be a useful addition to the book-
is particularly useful to newcomers trying to shelves of anyone who has even a passing
get to grips with the substantive subject area interest in the new governance of the envi-
for the first time. Each chapter has addi- ronment, not just students.
tional lists of further reading. Whilst these John Forrester
are relatively up to date there are some University of York
peculiarities: Yearley 1996 is cited as recent
and there are some notable exceptions, for
example no mention, that I could see, of Halsey, A. H. A History of Sociology in
Hannigans influential Environmental Soci- Britain: Science, Literature, and Society
ology (1995). Indeed the book avoids social Oxford University Press 2004 279 pp.
constructionism in its key themes section 50.00 (hardback)
having dismissed it in the introduction (p.
19). None the less, it deals with evolutionary A. J. P. Taylor once famously wrote that
ideas well and in an interesting way (but not history gets thicker as it approaches recent

London School of Economics and Political Science 2006 British Journal of Sociology 57(4)
Book reviews 719

times. He assuredly did not have in mind picked up by so many in the discipline in the
British sociology, or its history, when he 1960s and 1970s, enthusiasms that undoubt-
wrote this and, if he were to have done, one edly contributed to the tribulation visited
wonders whether he might have intended a upon British social science by the early
more or a less flattering of the several meta- Thatcher government. The book contains no
phorical meanings of thick. Charitably, mention of, for example, Antonio Gramsci
Chelly Halsey among the most distin- (who did deserve his intellectual following),
guished, if not the most so, of the immediate nor of French Golden Delicious imports
postwar cohort of British sociologists does such as Louis Althusser (an intellectual
not approach his account of the British charlatan who did not), or Nicos Poulantzas
history of the subject with this trajectory at (Greek in origin, but who none the less pub-
its forefront. lished initially in French and whose oeuvre
It is the early chapters of his book that are was often theoretical glosses heavily depen-
the most interesting. The later ones, chroni- dent upon his secondary analysis of other
cling in much empiricist detail such matters writers, often historians). Of overseas genre
as the degree and quality of quantification in figures, Michel Foucault (whose earlier
mainstream sociology articles, are worthy as works are, to this reviewer, worthy and
statements of historical record, but are oth- erudite, but whose later writings tend to the
erwise of some banality. Many of the person- bizarre), Jrgen (variously spelt as Jrgen
ages in the history of the British discipline and Jurgen) Habermas, and Pierre Bourdieu
about whom Halsey writes, often at length, are among the few recent Europeans to
in his early chapters will be wholly unknown receive substantial coverage as celebrated
either in person or through their writings sociologists.
to almost all contemporary British sociolo- Delightfully, Halsey must live in a rarefied
gists below a certain age. Halsey uses his world of intellectual self-confidence that he
book in part to deliver his trenchant views seems to assume is universal: every under-
upon some of these major figures who could graduate is taught to avoid the ecological
have been considered rebarbative or self- fallacy, he writes (p. 81) in his discussion of
opinionated: e.g., David Glass, Perry Shils work, thus displaying either ironic
Anderson, Donald MacRae, the last for the hyperbole or a touching narrowness of
final eight years of his career the Martin vision. One only wishes that this were so:
White Professor of Sociology at LSE and most sociology undergraduates these days
surely one of the more inexplicably over- doubtless graduate without knowing what
promoted figures in the history of the British the ecological fallacy is, let alone how to
discipline. On Edward Shils, Halsey is kinder avoid it! Some are more likely to think it a
and more ready to recognize the genuine critique of Greenpeace!
morality of his conservatism, although the The book contains a number of minor
likelihood of his CIA connections must taint factual errors. Thus, Ernest Gellner actually
his reputation from most contemporary died in 1995, not 1997 (p. 99). Strictly speak-
perspectives. Halsey is also kind about ing, the first Martin White Professor at LSE
Leonard Hobhouse and about the seemingly was not Hobhouse, who assumed the full-
lugubrious Morris Ginsberg, whose kindness time post only from late-September 1907,
other former students recall. but Edvard Westermarck, who had accepted
Although Halsey does discuss the philo- a part-time fixed-term Martin White Profes-
sophical and epistemological approaches of sorship nearly two months earlier. Also, it is
the major figures whom he introduces into a little unfair to say that Liverpools teach-
his narrative, the history is remarkably ing of sociology began only in 1909. A
lacking and perhaps this is a merciful School of Training for Social Work albeit
release of any mention of the non-British intended for just that, training social
figures who were faddishly and trendily workers was established from 1905, and by

British Journal of Sociology 57(4) London School of Economics and Political Science 2006
720 Book reviews

1907, but essentially the same, it was calling on results. Views differ. For some it may be
itself the School of Social Science and of axiomatic that family change in the west is
Training for Social Work. synonymous with family breakdown, or that
The book has a substantial quantity of the old are a burden on the young, or that
editing errors, most of them small but of intergenerational competition is a major
such a nature that a publishing house with social force. Others see these axioms as
the self-aggrandizing and smug pretensions ageist, or as examples of bad research where
of the Oxford University Press ought to what passes as common sense has been
have ensured had been removed from the allowed to bias findings. The contributors to
final text. A theoretician mispelt as theori- this volume are distinguished researchers
tician (p. 83), a theirs for theirs (p. 93). and many chapters could be seen combating
And among some of the titles in the text and ageism or the demonization of the modern
their corresponding entries in the Refer- family, even though the authors are limited
ences there are numerous minor mistakes: by the significant deficit of direct informa-
an error of preposition in the title of Charles tion and the prevalence of small samples of
Booths best-known work, an errant and people over 60 or 65 where statistics exist.
intrusive indefinite article in the title, in its Two chapters specifically address family
English publication, of Ralf Dahrendorfs change in relation to senior members.
best-known early work, the rendition at one Murphy concludes from a survey of family
point of Shils as Still [!], and the attribu- contact in developed countries that there
tion to the present reviewer of a piece actu- are indeed differences between countries in
ally single-authored by an LSE colleague. the amount of face to face interaction
Sadly, there are other such errors, too between adult children and their parents,
numerous to mention; one hopes that and that these differences persist over time,
Oxford University Press took greater edito- even though there has been an overall drop
rial care in the preparation of its Oxford in face to face interaction in recent decades.
Dictionary of National Biography! However these results fall on a continuum
However, dwelling upon these is cavilling. and there is no evidence of catastrophic
Halsey has written a history of the British breakdown or overall loss of family contact.
discipline that, at least in its early chapters, Dimmock et al. focus on stepfamilies and
reflects on his rich academic experience, his the newly constituted relationships across
worthy prejudices, his good sense, and his generations. They conclude that the family is
strong moral commitment to the purpose of not in crisis but that it is too soon to say how
his subject. This reviewer asks no more than intergenerational relationships will develop
that! as the members of reconstituted families
Christopher T. Husbands age.
London School of Economics and Political Other chapters focus on the need of
Science elders for support. This is a biased approach
in that it does not allow much space for the
contributions of older people. The hard fact
Harper, Sarah Families in Aging Societies: is that burden, psychological, financial, or
A Multidisciplinary Approach Oxford 2004 other, is easier to measure than the mainly
224 pp. 47.00 (hardback) unpaid contributions that older people
make to their families and societies. Lang
Standpoint is not often something that is uses the Berlin Ageing Study of 516 highly
considered by quantitative researchers researched respondents to show that family
dealing with large samples. However ageing support is more than just parentchild
in western industrialized societies, and its interactions. He assesses the importance of
relation to the family, is an area of research wider family within and across generations,
where standpoint can have a major influence and theorizes his results in terms of ways of

London School of Economics and Political Science 2006 British Journal of Sociology 57(4)
Book reviews 721

mobilizing support. Again we have no evi- space and perpetrate sweeping concepts
dence of family breakdown as far as support about globalization, the late Paul Hirst was
for old age is concerned. concerned to promote an interdisciplinary
Economic theory has had considerable approach in this book drawing upon ideas
influence on the way population ageing is from architectural theory, politics, sociology,
represented in academia. The cost of pen- geography and history amongst others to
sions and the failure to acknowledge or explore the relationship between space and
count unpaid labour, have been combined power. This wide-ranging volume is particu-
with the well publicized burden of elder care larly impressive in its broad historical sweep
on women to present the elderly as a drain which highlights the specific historical con-
on family and national resources. The texts through which space is configured by
welfare state is then seen as transferring power and becomes a resource for power.
unfair amounts of resources from young Such an approach denies any notions of
to old. Finch implicitly contradicts this spatial fixity and thwarts any meta-
approach in her discussion of the flexibility theoretical, all inclusive notions about the
of inheritance transfers and the growing relationships between space and power. It
possibility of conflict between passing on also implicitly foregrounds a practical, con-
wealth and paying for long term care, while textualizing consideration of how forms of
Achenbaum explicitly states that there is spatial(ized) power might be challenged.
little empirical evidence of intergenera- More specifically, Hirst concentrates on
tional conflict, even in America where the three spaces organized at different spatial
theory has been most developed. scales, the nation, the city and the building,
The relation between unpaid care for subjects that are discussed in three thematic
older people and paid work is discussed by sections. The first section explores political
Anderson for Europe and Johnson and Lo institutions and their spatial exclusions and
Sasso for America while Kendall et al. inclusions, and their impact upon national
present the shift towards private as opposed and city formations. Despite many contem-
to state provided care in the UK. Harpers porary assertions to the contrary, he main-
introductory chapter pulls all these themes tains that the nation-state and the city are of
together and also makes the important point continuing salience. In the case of the latter,
that knowledge of demographic ageing itself he identifies the importance of the nation-
becomes an input to social, economic and ally embedded city as channel and node
political developments. This point is not fol- of power in a global economy but also
lowed up which is a pity, but this is a main- acknowledges the challenge to the urban by
stream book rather than a contribution to new, albeit geographically specific, exurban
critical theory. As such it is very good and developments, and the new urban forms
will be a useful source for sociologists who evolving in the enormous, growing cities
want to look beyond the immediate confines outside the west.
of the discipline. The second section considers the spatial
Gail Wilson dimensions of war, focusing upon changing
London School of Economics spatial and territorial divisions which orga-
nize war, the fluidity of imperial and military
frontiers in different historical periods,
Hirst, P. Space and Power: Politics, War ranging from the Roman Empire to the
and Architecture Polity 2005 260 pp. 55.00 American push westwards, and the impact
(hardback) 16.99 (paperback) of technologies on war and space. An impor-
tant factor is the continuing impediments to
Setting his approach against modish and social action, and communication particu-
over-general theories, particularly those larly exemplified through the limitations of
which elucidate postmodern conceptions of military campaigns which are spatially

British Journal of Sociology 57(4) London School of Economics and Political Science 2006
722 Book reviews

over-extended, as indeed, the current Iraqi to cause geographers to question too-

adventure seems to be, despite the huge comfortable theoretical suppositions.
numbers of American troops present. Hirst Tim Edensor
also takes particular issue with writers about Manchester Metropolitan University
military campaigns and strategy war who
champion new hyper-technological military
solutions, particularly denying the hyper- Kallen, Evelyn Social Inequality and Social
bolic depictions of total power envisaged by Injustice: A Human Rights Perspective
the champions of the revolution in military Palgrave Macmillan 2004 216 pp. 17.99
affairs who espouse such faith in informa- (paperback)
tion systems and surgical strikes without
comprehending the role of individual human As its title suggests, this book tackles persis-
agency and fallibility. Such over-estimations tent issues of social inequality and social
of military capability ignore the potential for injustice by advocating a human rights
the use of mobile, informational technolo- agenda. In so doing, it seeks to draw
gies by the weak against the powerful in an together work on a wide range of instances
increasingly networked world. He further of discrimination in order to show how these
suggests that perhaps the enormously expen- exemplify violations of human rights.
sive strategies of installing extensive military Written by an eminent author in a clear
capabilities in extra-terrestrial space might style, the book has much to recommend it
secure the reign of the powerful USA for a being particularly suited for use on any uni-
time but this can certainly not be guaranteed versity course concerned with human rights.
in perpetuity, partly because it requires such The problem with the book is that, whilst
colossal financing and economic conditions it is quite rightly very critical of many social
may not always be favourable to the amass- practices, it is so uncritical of the idea of
ing of such funds. human rights itself. It is tempting to dismiss
The third section shifts focus to investi- this concern with the thought that its in a
gate the effects of buildings through a good cause and overlook any objections,
Foucauldian perspective, charting the trans- but present experience, for example in
formations through which buildings have Britain, should make one pause before
been apprehended according to the power doing so.
knowledge axis provided by the discursive The crucial moves in the book are made
formations organized around medieval early on. Simply by taking a human rights
churches, panoptical prisons and artillery perspective, it is assumed that human rights
fortress the latter only recently superseded constitute the only significant feature of the
by more mobile military technologies in moral landscape. This allows human rights
which military power is not so spatially theorists to assume the role of moral legis-
confined. lator on all matters, just as the Utilitarians
Space and Power does not present a holis- once did with their principle of utility.
tic, sequential or over-arching argument, for Again, the familiar concentration on
key themes are treated in contrasting ways human rights abuses in democratic societies
and modes of analysis are diverse, yet the compared to the allegedly (sic) more
contemporary and historical variations by serious situation in non-democratic societ-
which power in manifest in space are ies, is justified by the wildly improbable fear
cogently analysed through the consolidation that if all human rights scholars shifted their
of multiple perspectives. Paul Hirst has attention away from democratic societies,
written a challenging, accessible and what could happen is that we will neglect to
extremely thought-provoking volume which clean up our own back yards .
raises a plethora of critical questions about Another crucial step is to separate human
the future of space and power that ought rights from natural rights which, while

London School of Economics and Political Science 2006 British Journal of Sociology 57(4)
Book reviews 723

justified by the more expansive claims of the the conflicts between these rights and the
former, ignores the genealogical link human rights of the majority need to be
between the two. In turn, this insulates taken seriously. Of course, these conflicts
human rights from all the problems which can be settled either by a moral judgment in
earlier critics found in natural rights many favour of minority rights, as happens in the
of which are carried over into the successor book, or left to the courts. The latter resolu-
concept. These critics include people as tion, and the incorporation of human rights
diverse as Burke, Marx, Bentham and T. H. into law, none the less means that judges in
Green and, since little criticism of human effect have the last word rather than
rights enters from any other source, the democratically elected representatives. Put
concept consequently appears to be largely bluntly, human rights and democracy are not
unproblematic as a result. When problems the same thing and, at times, can be incom-
do emerge they tend to receive short shift. patible in practice.
One problem, for example, which is the Although the book seeks to explain the
tendency for human rights to conflict with violation of human rights in democratic soci-
more communitarian ways of viewing eties which have formally recognized them,
society, is met with the assertion that the explanation offered is one reliant on the
the relationship ought to be symbiotic, familiar machinations and abuse of power.
although human rights seem to have the last But having excluded the possibility of any
word here and elsewhere where a conflict is other moral considerations, the failure of
admitted. societies to give complete recognition to
Further, the very pressing problem of the human rights must, by default, result from
clash between human rights as a western expediency, or immorality, or both.
ideal and the ideas of other cultures is simi- A human rights agenda might be the best
larly played down. So, from the many way forward for advancing the situation of
examples given of the clear contravention of many disadvantaged minorities, and it seems
human rights perpetrated by societies is met to be the way favoured in practice by many
with the assurance that the spread of human at present. However, we need a wider range
rights is a process. The, perhaps overly com- of moral concepts than human rights and
forting, implication is that if there is a those immediately related to them.
problem here it will gradually disappear. Terry Hopton
With similar assurance, religious beliefs University of Central Lancashire
which do not accord with the contemporary
human rights doctrine espoused in the book
are simply dismissed as pseudo-religions. Keith, Michael After the Cosmopolitan?:
A problem that is discussed at length, Multicultural Cities and the Future of
however, is the conflict between two differ- Racism Routledge 238 pp. 19.99
ent human rights. The conflict between the (paperback)
human rights of people not to be harmed
by things like the publication of hate mate- This is a theoretically sophisticated, empiri-
rial, and the human right of free speech is a cally grounded, account of the questionable
particularly sensitive one. But, here, only concept of the cosmopolitan, as it is manifest
the undeniable harm done to the victims of in urban spaces. Keith begins with the salient
such hate is elaborated in the book. No point that cosmopolitanism has been theo-
opposing case in made out for freedom of rized outside of the domain in which it is
speech, and the harms its restriction can most present, that is the space of the city.
cause, and so censorship appears to win by While there is a certain amount of compara-
default. tive literature in the book, the main focus is
Inevitably, the human rights of minorities London and more specifically South East
are the main concern of the book. However London. Indeed, the chapters which are

British Journal of Sociology 57(4) London School of Economics and Political Science 2006
724 Book reviews

most illuminating are those that cover in which racialized difference is lived and
specific incidents and events in Spitalfields, practiced in some ways at a distance from
Tower Hamlets and Newham. This is not to the force of the nation state. It becomes pos-
say that these are not theorized in a useful sible to think outside of the equation
and illuminating way, just that the ethno- between people and nation. For Keith the
graphic detail provides insights which city is the space of the global, it is possible to
complement the acrobating through the talk of London as a global city in a way
literature. And there is an impressive array which makes no sense when evoking the sig-
of academic and policy literature covered in nifier of the nation. Central to this are the
the book signifying the interdisciplinary transnational connections that are routinely
nature of the subject area and the need to be located through global cities such as
broad to understand the processes at play. Toronto, Sydney, Dhaka etc.
Spread over ten chapters, Keith uses key The book is organized in a fairly argumen-
tropes of the city as a way of organizing his tative manner with Keith offering a series of
argument. In this manner, we are taken propositions in the opening chapter which
though the debates about the ghetto; are matched by principles and an approach
Ideas of the the street as a site of authen- to the city space in the final chapter. How
ticity and contestation; Graffiti practice as a successfully this kind of approach works can
way of capturing the commoditized urban be demonstrated by considering one of the
space and the contradictions between opening starting points: Race thinking and
ethnic entrepreneurs and street rebels in the city in which Keith challenges some of
the way in which the inner city is repre- the ways in which migrants in the city have
sented. Keith offers a book about the city been written about and their histories
which attempts to shift between Adorno represented. In the conclusion, he offers the
and Benjamin, and attempts to explore the principle of: mimetic urbanism (p. 181), in
uncertain cartographies of the post-colonial which the performances of migrant groups
city in a way that avoids both instant in the space of the city is seen as a subvervi-
empirical anachronism and the sort of sive and disruptive force, not reducible to
privileged speculative theoretical exegesis the ethnic monitoring targets of the urban
Adorno advocated (p. 168). To do this planners. In some ways the book itself
Keith offers us the plan of the urban space attempts to weave a complex path between
as a way of bringing together visions of the the concerns and necessities of planning the
city with public policy practice and the urban multiculture (in Keiths terms) but
activities of dwellers. Central to these con- constantly recognizing the ethnographic
cerns is the way in which multiculturalism impossibility of the task.
or the multiculture fits or not into the plans Virinder S. Kalra
of urban designers and planners. Manchester University
Indeed, one of the main themes running
through the book is how the politics of race
and the responses of multiculturalism and Mann, Michael The Dark Side of
cultural diversity work though the spaces of Democracy: Explaining Ethnic Cleansing
the city. In that sense the urban context is Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
central to understanding how ideas such as 2005 580 pp. 45.00 (hardback) 17.99
racial division, intercultural dialogue, and (paperback)
the cosmopolitan are formed and enacted. It Mann, Michael Fascists Cambridge:
is this dimension that is neglected according Cambridge University Press 2004 429 pp.
to Keith by those who offer cosmopolitan- 40.00 (hardback) 15.99 (paperback)
ism as both an ethically progressive way of
being and an aspirational goal of becoming Michael Mann has deservedly earned the
(p. 169). Rather the city is a contested zone respect and esteem of his colleagues in many

London School of Economics and Political Science 2006 British Journal of Sociology 57(4)
Book reviews 725

disciplines. His two exceptionally ambitious yielded untold riches and minerals, invest-
recent undertakings on fascism and ethnic ment opportunities, cheap labour, and as
cleansing will only reinforce his standing, Keegan suggests (in Robert Crowleys What
though a few reviewers have been more If, 1999), even Middle-East oil was ripe for
bewildered than bewitched. Mann bemoans the plucking. Mann also does not consider
that social theory in our materialist age has whether conquest paid. Peter Liberman did
often seemed obsessed by economic power (Does Conquest Pay, 1996, p. 66), concluding
relations and pacific economistic theories that in Germanys occupied European coun-
prominent since World War II (Fascists, pp. tries, conquest permitted profits far beyond
49, 64). This is not merely a casual aside, it is gains from trade. Fascists may have been as
a reflection of Manns view that rational- irrational as Mann suggests, but his thesis
choice theory, Marxism and economic inter- would involve a wider investigation.
pretations in general are inadequate to Mann mounts a strong case against
explain these twentieth-century events. It is Marxist theories of fascism pointing out fas-
this not-so-subtle subtext that pervades both cisms cross class appeal, but weakens his
of these volumes. case when he concludes by stating how
Fascists discusses why northwest Europe fascism would not have surged without the
was relatively immune to the virus that prior surge of Bolshevism and furthermore,
swept through so much of Europe, who sup- how fascist parties were aided into power by
ported fascism and, most brilliantly, how a an elite conspiracy and backstairs plots of
strategy of paramilitary violence helped upper-class and elite groups in Italy,
fascism to conquer by silencing and by exter- Germany Austria, and Romania (Fascists,
minating their enemies. Perhaps the overrid- pp. 194, 229, 292). Try as he might to
ing theme of Fascists is that although the re-define issues in a less class-centered
Bolshevik threat was over by 1920, elites in format, a faintly Marxist vision lingers on.
south, central and eastern Europe reached In Dark Side of Democracy, Mann main-
for their guns too soon (p. 61), an hysterical tains that perversions of democracy can
overreaction (p. 63) allowing fear and loath- incubate lethal (organic) nationalisms that
ing to override their rational instrumental lead to the expulsion or the extermination of
capitalist interests (p. 357). minority ethnic groups. Paramilitaries arise
Manns assurance that Bolshevism was both independently and aided by political
averted early on has a certain appeal. leaders. The descent into barbarism does not
However, revolutions were as difficult to happen at once mass annihilation is only
predict then as now, even Lenin could not do rarely the act of evil men plotting the demise
it. With revolutions in Russia, Hungary, of an entire ethnic group: not even Hitler
Bavaria, Spain widely viewed as accom- did so (p. 7); neither Milosevic nor Tudjman
plished by small conspiratorial cliques and ever intended things to go so far (p. 424); the
massive strikes in Italy, why would property Armenian genocide was not as coherent,
owners not insure their property? organized and premeditated as is usually
The possessing classes and panicking old argued (p. 139). Unintentionally, plans go
regimes (p. 61) were arguably rational just awry, and when milder schemes (i.e., expul-
not clairvoyant. sions) are frustrated, extreme final solutions
As far as Hitlers demonic war plans are may follow.
concerned, John Keegan has maintained, Mann is quite convinced that economic
that Hitler could have easily won the war: if concerns have a decidedly secondary
it was winnable, was it so economically irra- importance in twentieth-century genocides,
tional? Indeed, Hitler considered the which are primarily about politics and ide-
Ukraine as the Reichs India and his ology. Mann also, emphatically insists that
dreams for Lebensraum, mass starvation one ethnic group must be seen as exploit-
and serial genocide in the east could have ing the other (p. 6). Minorities may

British Journal of Sociology 57(4) London School of Economics and Political Science 2006
726 Book reviews

establish ties with other countries and the Thirdly, it is strange to see Mann wriggling
prospect of foreign intervention to stop to distance himself from Edna Bonacichs
internal abuse can in fact be counter- classic middleman minority theory and
productive and may incite a pre-emptive from Amy Chuas popular account of domi-
strike. Not finished yet, Mann examines nant economic minorities, since their posi-
which individuals are apt to become the tion is so similar to his own. Unlike Chua, I
killers who perpetrate the final deeds and do not believe [middleman] conflicts under-
why border areas produce a higher propor- lie the most serious cases of ethnic cleans-
tion of perpetrators. Readers will be ing (p. 517). However, what Mann calls the
unequivocally impressed by Manns vast most serious cases must surely include the
reading and immersion in these problems Armenian and Jewish genocides, both con-
and others too numerous to list. Neverthe- sidered middleman minorities by Walter
less, there are many queries that surface in Zenner. William Rubinstein has also consid-
response to Manns contentions. ered the Holocaust from this perspective
Firstly, is his contrast between economic (Jewish Journal of Sociology 2000). Mann
and utilitarian colonial genocides and similarly rejects Chuas interpretation of the
twentieth-century ideological ones ade- Rwandan conflict in this light as rather far-
quate? Mann writes: Unlike the other cases fetched (p. 31). Maybe not: the Tutsi case,
discussed in this book, underlying the ethnic while certainly not representing a typical
conflict was a direct economic conflict over middleman entrepreneurial situation, does
who should possess and use the land (p. 71). bear one critical and striking structural
However, the Fascist slogan was Blut und resemblance to the Jewish case in medieval
Boden (Blood and Land) and Lebensraum, and modern Europe. Some Jews were tax
as noted earlier, was every bit as avaricious collectors and administrators, in effect,
as the colonialist intentions of Western instruments of power for the European
empires. Furthermore, pre-twentieth- nobility. (Lewis Coser, Greedy Institutions
century genocides were every bit as ideo- 1974) The Tutsi became, like the Jews, privi-
logical as twentieth-century ones, from the leged functionaries of the Belgian colonial
Biblical justification for the destruction of regime, inciting resentment and rage among
the Canaanites to social Darwinism in the the Hutu.
nineteenth-century. Notwithstanding, the foregoing interroga-
Is Mann justified in further claiming that tions, Manns provocations will inevitably
economic interests are rarely the main inspire further investigation and continue to
cause of ethnic conflict (p. 31), and that in reinvigorate historical sociology.
fact economic seizures are usually secondary Rosaire Langlois
in cleansing and rarely important in its Toronto
origins, appealing disproportionately to low-
level perpetrators once the cleansing is
underway (p. 32). Doesnt this ignore how Miller, A. G.(ed.) The Social Psychology of
all classes might grow wealthier from Leb- Good and Evil The Guilford Press 2004
ensraums opportunities? Doesnt it also 498 pp. 46.00 (hardback) 23.00
overlook the situation in Rwanda, where (paperback)
almost all inhabitants were subsistence
farmers and farms had shrunken from three The Social Psychology of Good and Evil
acres to one in recent decades? Why assume includes chapters from renowned research-
the conflict was not over land? Land- ers and will be widely read by followers of
conscious Turkey, the sick man of Europe, experimental social psychology. The authors
had lost fifty per cent of its empire and review research that is based largely on
feared further losses (i.e., Armenian questionnaires and/or behavioural manipu-
independence). lations and address cognitive biases,

London School of Economics and Political Science 2006 British Journal of Sociology 57(4)
Book reviews 727

self-processes, helping, empathy, and routes periods before acting (rather than respond-
to aggression. There are also chapters on ing rapidly to laboratory manipulations or
sexual violence and lying and readers will be questionnaire items) and they can experi-
particularly interested in Millers analysis of ence meaningful personal and social transi-
whether Milgrams work can be generalized tions as a result of their chosen behaviour.
to real atrocities. These experiences are not addressed suffi-
Zimbardo sets the tone of the book with ciently, but Staub does provide a valuable
his chapter on situationist perspectives, high- summary of the basis of his interventions in
lighting the fallacy of relying on purely Rwanda and draws together his own previ-
dispositional explanations of evil and ous work on situations of conflict.
emphasizing the importance of the Millers introductory comments indicate
experiment. However, do people really that readers will learn of perpetrators per-
become evil by turning on or off one spectives and victims perspectives. Aside
or another social situational variable? from Aronsons inclusion of personal
Zimbardo states his position in this fashion accounts of victimization from high school
(p. 22) and later develops a homily that students, Baumeister and Vohs briefly attend
equates people with fruit in a barrel (p. 47) to college students written descriptions of
(a barrel filled with vinegar will always turn being made angry and making others angry
sweet cucumbers into sour pickles). (the authors acknowledge that such acts are
Perhaps, but humans are not fruit. Zimbardo not evil but assume the underlying processes
cites Bandura, Underwood, and Fromsons extend to evil interchanges). Overall, there
(1975) research to show that circumstances is a distinct lack of narrative from perpetra-
induce people to obey and become more tors and victims in the book and it is the
aggressive. He neglects to mention the 8 researchers theoretical and methodological
people who resisted Bandura et. als situ- perspectives that dominate the text.
ational forces by refusing to participate in Fully half of the authors draw reference to
the first electric shock experiment (leading the attacks on September 11th 2001, and
to an eventual withdraw of 24 participants). some critique the response of the American
These defiant participants actions are government. It is surprising then that wider
important manifestations of personal agency research is not cited that addresses how vio-
in the face of strong social pressures. Yet, lence can become seen as a legitimate
their conduct fell outside Zimbardos response by previously peaceful victimized
extreme situationist perspective of people individuals, or how real people may become
being responsive fruit in a barrel and they involved in terrorist groups.
are written out of the history of social This book will provide a useful resource
psychology. for anyone interested in a synthesis of
Previous experimental work has high- experimental research on the topics
lighted the influence of situations in both covered. As with any research, readers will
good and reprehensible behaviour, but be advised to consider the limitations and
experiments are limited in as much as they biases of the work they read.
are used to investigate what the researcher Mark Burgess
can control and predict. In contrast to many Oxford Brookes University
of the famous studies mentioned in Millers
book, people in real social contexts
often create and seek roles and are not Pink, Sarah Home Truths: Gender,
merely assigned roles by authoritative Domestic Objects and Everyday Life Berg
experimenters. It would be valuable to gain 2004 158 pp. 14.99 (paperback)
an insiders perspective of the decisions and
experiences of individuals in real life. These This study explores how individuals
people often ruminate for prolonged approached homemaking creatively and

British Journal of Sociology 57(4) London School of Economics and Political Science 2006
728 Book reviews

how . . . peoples experiences and under- 2000: 24) that women might become active
standings of . . . the aural, tactile, olfactory agents in the family and its consumption
and visual elements of their homes figure in practices and thus operate as conscious
the way they performatively negotiate their agents of change in the sphere of intimacy.
gendered identities in this space (p. 10). It However what is common to both these
analyses 50 interviews with women and men types of analysis, though not present in that
in England and Spain from two projects for of Sarah Pink, is the belief that, as Silva says,
Unilever Research. the invisible labour of caring is a deeply
The focus is explicitly on individuals, devalued social activity. Certainly my own
although reference is made to cultural dif- approach would have sought to revalue the
ferences between England and Spain; to the labours of caring partly by offering or
different types of housing represented in the demanding that they be shared by both
study and to statistical analyses of shifting men and women, which would necessarily
gender patterns in the performance of involve men sharing and participating in
household tasks in both countries. The focus housework and home making in its fullest
is on change rather than continuities. For sense.
example in Spain statistics are quoted Feminists of the 1970s and 1980s may
showing that, between 1993 and 1996, the have overstressed the drudgery associated
amount of housework done by women with housework, but I dont think that we
decreased by 22 minutes to 4 hours 24 overstressed the isolation that it often did
minutes per day, while that done by men and does entail, especially for women with
increased by 9 minutes to 37 minutes per day young children in nuclear families and
(p. 14). However, it is slightly puzzling, that more especially for those without the mate-
the total amount of housework apparently rial resources to obtain help in the house or
decreased by 8 minutes to 2 hours and 30 the social back-up in the form of child care
minutes (p. 14). (though that has now become more avail-
The survey material quoted also shows able than it was then).
differences according to household type and The question is not whether women and
social class and not just individual attitudes, men can enjoy many aspects of housework/
(with Spanish women in lower class nuclear home making, but whether society can orga-
households carrying the main burden of nize the care of children and the home so
household responsibilities, for example (p. that it offers genuine egalitarian choices, to
14) but the interview sample itself is not men and women of all classes and back-
analysed in this way. There is much interest- grounds on how they arrange the material
ing detail from the interviews but scant ref- and social contexts of domestic life and life
erence to class or other social or economic outside the home.
groupings, although the descriptions sug- That may appear utopian and, although
gests that the sample is mainly middle class, there have been some welcome changes, it is
and that these intentionally are predomi- one not much nearer to realization for many
nantly people without young or dependent women or men than it was in the 1970s.
children (p. 21). Ellen Malos
Home Truths rejects the approach taken University of Bristol
by Anne Oakley (The Sociology of House-
work, 1974 [1985]) and myself (The Politics
of Housework, 1980 and 1995) stating that Preda, Alex AIDS, Rhetoric, and Medical
we saw the housewife as bored and iso- Knowledge Cambridge University Press
lated and situated in a political structure 2005 276 pp. 45.00 (hardback)
that naturalizes her feminity. It cites in pref-
erence (p. 87) the formulation of Elizabeth I opened this text with much anticipation,
Silva (The Politics of Consumption@Home assuming that at last I would be in

London School of Economics and Political Science 2006 British Journal of Sociology 57(4)
Book reviews 729

possession of a contemporary critique of in many ways are the basis of our dealings
HIV in the spirit of earlier contributors such with HIV. Contrary to conventional science
as Paula Treichler and Donna Haraway but (or at least the natural/biological sciences)
with a more update and appropriately and some sections of social science, Preda
adjusted analytic. Possibly the emphasis on reveals risk as conceptually devised and
AIDS rather than HIV or HIV/AIDS in the mobilized for the ordering and legitimating
title should have been a warning that the of medical knowledge. As he explains, as risk
focus is on the period leading up to, but not becomes our way of seeing it also becomes
extending to, the watershed that has taken our future. We make the world what it is to a
place whereby the advent of HIV combina- significant extent by acting according to how
tion antiretroviral drug therapies is con- we understand its substance. This point,
sidered by many to have potentially trans- however, returns me to my concern about
formed HIV from a terminal infection to a the lack of attention to change within the
chronic disease. Indeed, the book opens with epidemic and the big question to be lev-
a description of advertisements promoting elled at rhetorical analysis: how can or
the use of condoms in Germany and, should we understand what is now also
remarkably, fails to provide a date. From the apparent for those within HIV that, through
outset, it seems Preda is unaware that his- rhetoric, science does achieve? The reason
torical context matters in a discussion of why Preda is able to overlook the major
HIV science. But I shall come back to this changes that have occurred over more than
point. Putting aside the need for contempo- twenty years of the HIV/AIDS epidemic is
rary critique of HIV biomedical interven- because he uses a style of social construc-
tions and how we might evaluate their risk tionism that understands language as a
of iatrogenic disease and the challenges they metaphysical contributor whose work takes
are now argued to pose to safe sex cultures, place apart from the matter it speaks of
Predas book does offer an elaborate (rather than to some extent coterminous).
account of how medical AIDS discourse Rhetorical conventions are dealt with here
has been forged through rhetorical as if they precede rather than, as he himself
processes. In setting out an array of varying claims, are invariably entangled with the
phenomena for example, Kaposis sarcoma, matter they organize. Although we are made
Pediatric AIDS, alloantigenic sperm, prosti- explicitly aware of how HIV as an object of
tutes, homosexuals, female sexual partners study and intervention has been shaped by
constructed as sites or sources of risk he certain unquestioned conventions of think-
has provided an expert guide on how to ing and doing in the laboratory and in the
undertake rigorous discourse analysis that field, some readers may be left with the
could be adapted to expose forms of sense question of so what? Why is rhetorical
making that prevail in many areas besides analysis important now that science has so
HIV/AIDS. Beginning with a discussion of radically decoupled HIV from its otherwise
the centrality of risk in understandings and near inevitability of AIDS? As a text for
practices national and international to those who want or need a close hand
HIV/AIDS, he reveals HIV/AIDS as not a account of how we mistakenly confuse the
risk in itself but, rather, a biomedical epi- empirical as apart from our interventions,
demic shaped in our imaginaries and this book is to be recommended. Indeed, I
through associated practices based on con- will be very pleased to offer it to under-
ceptual determinants of risk. Classificatory graduate and postgraduate students of soci-
processes produce rules for seeing things. ology of medicine. But for those who want
Hence, classificatory systems along with something more and, more specifically,
understandings about space, place espe- which deals with how science works to
cially as these are the charge of the disci- produce not just categories of phenomena
pline of epidemiology inform and, indeed, but is entangled in dynamic palpable bodies,

British Journal of Sociology 57(4) London School of Economics and Political Science 2006
730 Book reviews

viruses, drugs, tests and more, it may be conflict must be the primary aim of law, and
disappointing. parents unable to resolve disputes without
Marsha Rosengarten external help must be assisted. The solution
Goldsmiths College, University of London he proposes, equally familiar to scholars in
this area, is that traditional legal processes
need to be redirected towards or replaced
Schepard, Andrew I. Children, Courts and by Family Courts where the emphasis is on
Custody: Interdisciplinary Models for mediation and parental education. Arguing
Divorcing Families Cambridge University that legal institutions and lawyers need to
Press 2004 224 pp. 45 (hardback) 16.99 develop interdisciplinary coalitions he sug-
(paperback) gests that the message that lawyers should
send to parents should be similar to that that
Parental disputes following divorce, and the mental health professionals send to parents:
political and policy debates about the role of Reduce your conflict, and cooperate with
law in resolving them, are a rich and critical each other if it is safe to do so (p. 176).
site for exploring a wide range of issues: Schepards analysis, however, is not
gender (in)equality; changing family struc- limited to procedure. Rather he links devel-
tures; the concepts of childhood and chil- opments in legal doctrine with procedural
drens rights; domestic violence; alternative reforms. In charting what he considers to be
dispute resolution; the interaction and ten- a progressive development, he argues that
sions between the legal and psy-discourses; the paradigm of the child custody court has
and the legitimate role of the state in regulat- shifted from sole custody and adversarial
ing private family life. Schepards analysis courtroom combat to mediation, education,
touches on all these issues but his perspective and self determination that aim to involve
is not that of a critical sociologist or social both parents in the post-divorce life of their
theorist, but, rather, that of an empirically child (p. 175). Schepard argues for a pre-
informed practical family lawyer passion- sumption of joint decision making and
ately concerned with the well-being of chil- argues that sole legal custody should only be
dren and their parents. Consequently the ordered as a last resort (p. 167) where alter-
implicit underlying questions he asks are: native dispute resolution programmes have
what is wrong with the current system and failed. Moreover he argues that sole custody
what works best for children and their fami- should be awarded to the parent who seems
lies? In answering these questions Schepard to be more cooperative with the other parent
provides an overview of past developments in making decisions for the child (p. 167).
and sets out an explicit agenda for reform. While this approach is problematic, for
While focused exclusively on the USA, his reasons explored below, it is important to
account resonates closely with the current emphasize that Schepards analysis is far
law reform debates in England and Wales. from crude. Drawing on an extensive range
Moreover, the federal nature of US family of empirical studies detailing the complex
law, and the highly distinctive approach realities of family life he rejects the popular
adopted by different states, inevitably lends demand made by some parts of the Fathers
itself to a comparative approach. Rights movement for a presumption of equal
Schepards analysis of the failure of the physical custody (the 50/50 option). Simi-
current systems makes what for many is now larly, he rejects the idea that Parental Alien-
a familiar critique of the adversarial legal ation Syndrome is a diagnosable mental
process: it increases conflict, and at times health disorder, and he deals at length and
actually creates it, and costs too much and sensitively with the reality of domestic vio-
takes too long. A key premise underlying his lence. Moreover, he also rejects conservative
approach is the belief that parental conflict proposals that would make divorce harder
harms children; consequently alleviating where children are involved (demands for

London School of Economics and Political Science 2006 British Journal of Sociology 57(4)
Book reviews 731

which are far stronger in the USA than in an Springer, Kimberley Living for the
increasingly secular Western Europe). Revolution. Black Feminist Organizations,
Shepard rejects these ideological posi- 19681980 Duke University Press 2005 228
tions by recourse to an empirically informed pp. 57.00 (hardback) 14.95 (paperback)
child centred focus, by accepting the
unavoidable reality of divorce in modern life Living for the Revolution represents an
and by repeatedly focusing on what works. important sociological and historical analy-
Yet, while he quotes, supportively, Katherine sis of African-American feminists orga-
Bartletts observation that many questions nized political activism. Drawing on oral
to which answers might be sort are not, fun- history interviews with black feminist activ-
damentally, empirical questions but rather ists and the records of black feminist orga-
normative ones (p. 30), the weakness of nizations of the 1960s and 1970s, Springer
Schepards approach is a failure to be explicit charts the emergence of black feminist orga-
about the highly normative nature of his own nizations against the turbulent backdrops of
project. This problematic silence is most the civil rights movements, black nationalist
apparent in his coupling of support for com- movements and the mainstream [white]
pulsory mediation and education with an feminist movement. Springer potently
espousal of parental self determination. For argues that black feminist organizations
while the therapeutic justice (p. 4) that were significant in shaping the agendas of
Shepard prefers to the traditional adversarial these diverse and intersecting social move-
legal justice and traditional conservative ments, while simultaneously enabling black
morality may unquestionably help some women activists to craft a cohesive black
families resolve conflicts,to work it imposes feminist consciousness and identity.
and demands the internalization of a particu- It is ironic, perhaps that despite the
lar understanding of responsibility.The result appointment of an African American
is a new moral code whereby the parent who woman Condoleeza Rice to the second
is perceived by others to refuse to divorce most powerful office on the global political
responsibly is placed in a highly vulnerable stage, black women remain invisible as
position. political actors. This marginalization derives
Children, Courts and Custody is a timely from particular gendered notions of what
book that provides an enormously rich and properly constitutes political activity,
detailed recent history of US divorce law and namely electoral politics, traditionally the
practices and provides examples of a prerogative of masculinity. Conceptualized
plethora of fascinating new innovative thus, black womens informal political activ-
methods and programmes designed to help ism and agency goes unrecognized. Hence,
resolve parental conflicts. It will be of much narratives of the civil rights and black
use and interest to policy makers and practi- nationalist movements have for the most
tioners (lawyers and non-lawyers alike). At part, consigned black women to the border-
the same time it represents both a prescrip- lands of those political struggles. Yet, as
tion for and defence of what Helen Reece Springer cogently argues, the erasure of
describes as post liberal form of divorce, black feminist activists from the historiogra-
where Psychological norms have replaced phies of post-WW2 American social move-
social norms, and therapeutic correctness has ments on the grounds of their political
become the new standard of good behav- disinterest can hardly be sustained. African
iour. (Reece, Divorcing Responsibly, Hart, American women can lay claim to a centu-
2003, p. 217). ries old record of engaged involvement in
Daniel Monk political struggles against race and gender
School of Law oppression, hewed initially in pre-colonial
Birkbeck College Africa and sustained throughout involve-
University of London ment in enslaved resistance movements,

British Journal of Sociology 57(4) London School of Economics and Political Science 2006
732 Book reviews

emancipation, reconstruction, the civil rights social and cultural stereotypes of black
era, and into the present day. women as jezebels, sapphires and mammies,
Springer deploys the concept of interstitial disabusing assumptions that the only legiti-
politics, or politics in the cracks to denote mate spaces for black women were the bed-
the uneasy location of black feminists caught rooms and kitchens of black and white men,
between the sexism of a patriarchal black and highlighted instead the essential public
nationalist movement, and the racism of a and private roles of black women in main-
predominantly white middle-class womens taining the integrity of both black and white
movement. African American women could family lives, and their significant socio-
find no easy purchase within either of these economic roles and contributions.
movements; their experiences of racism In their lifetimes, these organizations
demanded their alliances with black men, but were a vital forum faciliatating the articula-
structural sexism seemed to require their tion of a black feminist consciousness.
allegiance to global sisterhood. Springer Ultimately, commitment alone proved insuf-
neatly conveys the sense of unbelonging ficient to sustaining longevity; lack of
experienced by the many African American finance, resources and the burn out of war-
women inspired by the struggle against social weary women warriors took their toll, and
injustice, but who could not be easily accom- by 1980, all were defunct. Springer argues
modated within either the civil rights, black however, that this did not signal the death of
nationalist or mainstream white feminist black feminist organizing, but rather estab-
movements. Black feminists responded to lished the groundwork for a later generation
their marginalization by establishing their of black feminists. Springer ends by consid-
own collectivities to organize against race, ering the future of black feminist organizing,
class and gender oppression. Organizations particularly at the national level, and argues
such as the Third World Womens Alliance the need for the emergence of stars to
(1968), Black Women Organized for Action provide strong political leadership. Perhaps
(1973), the National Black Feminist Organi- Springer might also have urged stronger
zation (1973), the National Alliance of Black global alliances between black women (an
Feminists (1976), and the Combahee River ironic omission given her location in
Collective (1974) represented the first formal Britain) but the result of her work is a well-
avowedly black feminist organizations in the researched study, grounded in strong empiri-
USA, bringing together and providing criti- cal evidence, that allows us to hear the
cal space for black feminists to voice their voices of African-American feminists who
own concerns and establish their own contributed in myriad important ways to the
agendas. These organizations then, were civil rights, black nationalist, and womens
pivotal in helping to forge the shape of con- rights movement.
temporary black feminist consciousness. In Cecily Jones
the tradition of foremothers such as University of Warwick
Sojourner Truth and Harriett Tubman, these
black feminists insisted on the recognition of
the intersectionality of black womens lives Stinchcombe, A.L. The Logic of Social
as a precondition for eradicating social and Research The University of Chicago Press
racial injustices. Black women were not 2005 354 pp. 31.50 (hardback) 15.00
oppressed merely by the patriarchal sexism (paperback)
of white and black men, but by their race,
social class, and sexuality. This book is targeted at students and derives
As they organized together, black feminist from the authors lectures for graduate
activists began to chart a cohesive African students. However it is much more than that,
American female identity, one that sharply presenting an innovative and reflexive view
disrupted long-established racially imbued of sociological research that ignores the

London School of Economics and Political Science 2006 British Journal of Sociology 57(4)
Book reviews 733

artificial divide between qualitative and next case should be chosen so as to maxi-
quantitative methods, often moving in a mize the distance from the existing sample,
single paragraph from an example based on but also to quantitative research, where
ethnography to one based on historical what he calls orthogonal design suggests
sociology. It is written in a fluent oral style oversampling those cases that have the
which appears easy to read. This is decep- greatest residuals. Stinchcombe is at his
tive, because the text is concise and moves best when explaining the exceptions to this
rapidly through the logic of social research. rule (where there is curvilinearity, interac-
The book focuses on causal research and tion effects or populations with heteroge-
assumes that the same logic underlies all the neous variances), because he has an intuitive
sciences. Stinchcombes response to Hume, grasp of causal relationships and their
whom he cites, is that the role of the social impact on research observations.
scientist is to identify credible causal mecha- This sounds rather quantitative, but
nisms in social phenomena. He argues that examples include Goffman, Becker and eth-
the logic of causal inquiry is very different nomethodology, and reflect the authors
from that of descriptive research, and pro- commitment to a unified logic of social
duces a number of strategies for increasing research. The book also contains what he
the effectiveness of causal research. Stinch- calls short versions: paraphrased and con-
combe distinguishes four different types of densed excerpts from his own and other
method: quantitative, historical, ethnogra- research. Presumably these were a useful
phy and experimental. His own background resource for his students. I found them oddly
is both quantitative and historical, and he unsatisfying and somehow less accessible
includes many examples from his research than the rest of the book. The book is aimed
on Caribbean slavery. However, he treats at students, but it is not suitable as a resource
the four methods as complementary, and for quick reference on a specific topic. This is
tries to show how the same intellectual strat- partly because the structure is idiosyncratic
egies can be applied to each of them. and also because the book needs to be read
The basic idea behind the book is that the as a whole. Furthermore, much of the text
fundamental things we theorize about are only makes sense in the light of research
differences, and when we can manage it, dis- experience. However, reading the book
tances (p. 11). Distances are differences would be worthwhile for any active social
between differences; causes create differ- researcher, particularly at PhD level or
ences and in causal research we are trying to higher.
explain differences in one set of observa- Ruth Rettie
tions (the effect) in terms of another set of Kingston University
observations (the cause). The book is full of
insights into causal research and practical
suggestions for improving the effectiveness Wooffitt, R. Conversation Analysis and
of research. Discourse Analysis: A Comparative and
I found the discussion on sampling par- Critical Introduction Sage 2005 248 pp.
ticularly stimulating. Stinchcombe claims 65.00 (hardback) 19.99 (paperback)
that an effective strategy is to oversample
the extremes because it is here that causal Robin Wooffitts latest book has a strong
mechanisms are likely to be most apparent. pedagogic focus. Taking an omniscient per-
Whereas, he claims, conventional theory spective he guides the reader on a particu-
suggests we need the same amount of infor- lar journey through different approaches to
mation on each member of a population, he the analysis of discourse. The purpose of
argues that extreme cases have more the journey is to extol the value of conver-
information. He applies this not only to eth- sation analysis (CA) as a methodological
nography and historical sociology, where the approach to the study of talk, by defending

British Journal of Sociology 57(4) London School of Economics and Political Science 2006
734 Book reviews

it against the criticisms past and present and DA were particularly refreshing as
that have been mostly issued from certain these are usually lost in the focus on their
critical approaches to discourse analysis differences.
(DA). Having taken the same journey over Wooffitt describes how social psycholo-
the last ten years I can vouch for how gists, namely Billig, Potter, Wetherell and
useful this book will be to postgraduate Edwards have taken these ideas and run
students, lecturers and those teaching with them, picking out the strong influence
courses in discourse analysis. While it will of CA. A brief tour of the more critical
not teach them how to do CA it will give approaches to DA is also included to allow
them an invaluable orienting overview of the reader to fully appreciate their critiques
well known and lesser known key studies, of CA. Throughout his exploration Wooffitt
past and present issues, and contemporary gives the reader the benefit of his extensive
debates. knowledge through balanced arguments,
The book is well written although as an often illustrated with analyses of extracts
overview inevitably lacks an in-depth treat- from his own data as CA inspired DP (Dis-
ment of some areas. This is compensated for cursive Psychology).
by a useful signposting of further reading. A Two chapters are particularly strong. In
book like this cannot hope to cover every- Chapter 8 Wooffitt deals head on with the
thing, and there is little mention of the work key points raised one of the most recent
done on membership category analysis and public disputes between CA and DA, held
the increasing popularity of multimodal and on the pages of Discourse and Society. His
multi-activity studies of workplace interac- summary and illumination of the so-called
tion in CA. These topics would have pro- context debate will be welcomed by anyone
vided further points of similarity and trying to make sense of the sometimes tech-
contrast with DA. nical and sometimes heated issues. Chapter
To set up his argument, Wooffitt contrasts eight is particularly original and exciting in
two key studies, one from CA and one from that Wooffitt presents reanalyses of pub-
DA. His choice is the essential CA text, lished data presented by the critics, as evi-
Sacks, Schegloff and Jeffersons 1974 A Sim- dence for the benefits of a CA approach. It is
plest Systematics for the Organization of a shame that Wooffitt didnt pursue a
Turn-taking for Conversation and Gilbert complementary reanalysis of some of the
and Mulkays 1984 Opening Pandoras Box: Gilbert and Mulkay data here.
A Sociological Analysis of Scientists In chapter nine Wooffitt presents a clear
Discourse. I am not entirely convinced that and persuasive overview of three CA studies
these studies are an equal match. Gilbert which have explicitly engaged with the topic
and Mulkays book was indeed an important of power. These chapters go further than any
influence in the sociology of scientific extant text in getting down and dirty with
knowledge and on what we have come to the criticisms so often leveled at CA and
know as discursive psychology. However, offering proof that its practices should not
Sacks, Schegloff and Jefferson not only lays be considered restrictive in their scope.
claim to being the most cited article ever Overall, then, this is one of those books that
in Language, it is the key paradigmatic researchers, students and teachers want to
resource not only for students of CA but for have on their desks because it answers ques-
every CA study which builds upon its find- tions, clarifies confusing areas, and provides
ings in a cumulative way. The disparity may accessible overviews of sometimes technical
be a feature of the slow cumulative progress work and all in prose that is unpretentious
of CA compared to the changes in tack and and engaging.
focus in DA. This aside, a number of the Rebecca Barnes
similarities drawn by Wooffitt between CA Peninsula Medical School

London School of Economics and Political Science 2006 British Journal of Sociology 57(4)