Category Archives: Book Reviews

In the Meantime reviewed

s-l500Ella Harris reviews Sarah Sharma’s In the Meantime: Temporality and Cultural Politics. The book came out last year with Duke University Press and further information about it can be found here.

Justin Clemens reviews Kate Schechter’s ‘Illusions of a Future: Psychoanalysis and the Biopolitics of Desire’

978-0-8223-5721-6_prIf psychoanalysis proved globally to be one of the greatest intellectual and ethical events of the twentieth century, crossing and scrambling the divisions between the sciences and arts, medicine and morality, the technical and the everyday, it perhaps had its most outrageous popular and institutional success in the mid-century United States. There, it not only enjoyed an almost-incredible triumph in its rapid and near-total takeover of psychiatric institutions across the country, but infiltrated the field of cultural production to the point where the shrink cartoon became a genre in its own right.

Continue reading Justin’s review here

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Rethinking place and protest in the digital age: two new reviews

Two new reviews are now available on the Open Site:

9780745333052First is Pollyanna Ruiz’s Articulating Dissent: Protest and the Public Sphere, reviewed by Hannah Awcock (Pluto Press, 2014).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9780415889551Second is Mobile Technology and Place, a collection edited by Rowan Wilken and Gerard Goggin and reviewed by Michael Duggan. The volume was published by Routledge in 2012 and has recently appeared in paperback.

Clayton Howard reviews Amy Howard’s More Than Shelter: Activism and Community in San Francisco Public Housing

image_miniClayton Howard reviews Amy Howard’s (2014) More Than Shelter: Activism and Community in San Francisco Public Housing

Few policy debates have launched greater scholarly inquiry than discussions of the so-called “underclass” in the 1980s and 1990s. Beginning in the Reagan administration, conservatives such as political scientist Charles Murray (1984) condemned what they saw as the adverse effects of the liberal welfare state (see also Mead, 1986). Programs like Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) and public housing, in their view, rewarded poor people for bad behavior, and scholars like Murray catalogued a long list of consequences that had allegedly resulted from the liberal safety net, including laziness, promiscuity, and crime. Although individuals ultimately made choices about right and wrong, conservative critics claimed that the very programs meant to help low income Americans had ironically trapped them in a nearly inescapable cycle of poverty. Public housing, for example, segregated residents from jobs and possible middle-class role models, while AFDC allegedly encouraged single-mothers to have more children. These conservative critiques helped tip public opinion against support for liberal welfare policies in the 1990s and ultimately led to bipartisan efforts to reform them. In 1996, President Bill Clinton announced the end of the “era of big government” and signed bills that eliminated AFDC and destroyed some of the nation’s largest housing projects. These debates inspired numerous books from sociologists, geographers, and historians, including Amy Howard’s recent work More Than Shelter: Activism and Community in San Francisco’s Public Housing. Continue reading Clayton Howard’s review here

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Geografias Malditas: Corpos, Sexualidades e Espaços reviewed by Jan Hutta and Maria Rodó-de-Zárate

travestis e respeito kleinJan Hutta (Universität Bayreuth), EPD author and contributor and Maria Rodó-de-Zárate (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona) review the edited collection, Geografias Malditas: Corpos, Sexualidades e Espaços (Damned/Cursed Geographies: Bodies, Sexualities and Spaces), edited by Joseli Maria Silva, Marcio Jose Ornat and Alides Baptista Chimin Junior.

This important book focuses on the lives, politics and spaces of trans people, mainly in Brazil, but also in Spain, Chile, New Zealand and transnational space. The editors are members of GETE, Grupo de Estudos Territoriais (Territorial Studies Group), which is based at the State University of Ponta Grossa in Paraná, Brazil.

Geografias Malditas clearly breaks with the tradition of ‘speaking-for’, making a significant contribution to collaborative knowledge production. It goes beyond established practices of ‘giving voice’ by placing four texts written by travestis right in the first section of the book – rather than positioning them as subjective or illustrative add-ons. This is significant on both epistemological and political levels, this is not only a book about trans people. Rather, trans people, and in particular travestis, also figure prominently among the authors of the book. The significance of this issue can’t be overstated, since trans people in academic and scientific discourses have for decades been spoken for by so-called ‘experts’, who have pathologised and exoticised them. Even with the emergence of queer and transgender studies, it has been a common practice in social science debates to have cis-gendered scholars present ‘theory’, while trans people are attributed the role of telling their ‘subjective experience’, denying their capacity to engage on epistemological and political levels, and establishing ill-conceived hierarchies between ‘theory’ and ‘experience’ (Stryker, 2006).

Continue reading Jan Hutta’s review here.

As the authors state in the introduction, this books breaks many disciplinary boundaries in geography. First of all, it covers a still under-explored area of research: trans geographies. Internationally, only a small number of researchers study the reality of trans people (see Browne, Nash and Hines, 2010) and in Brazil the research on it is also very scarce. The authors start by illustrating the situation of gender and sexuality geographies in Brazil and show how it is not a welcomed subject in Brazilian academia. In this context, gender and sexualities geographies are struggling to be considered part of social sciences, and travesti geographies are taken as non-scientific and non-geographical issues. As they state: “the feeling of disregard, aversion and rejection in relation to our scientific discourse on travestis made us realize how it was perceived as the ‘damned’, in a Foucauldian sense, unable to acquire scientific value in the sacrosanct and inviolable purity of the geographical science” (page 12). This is where the title of the book comes from…

Continue reading Maria Rodó-de-Zárate’s review here.

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We Will Shoot Back reviewed by Williams

9780814725245_FullBrian Williams reviews Akinyele Omowale Umoja’s book We Will Shoot Back: Armed Resistance in the Mississippi Freedom Movement. The volume came out in 2013 with New York University Press.

We Will Shoot Back builds upon an important and growing body of scholarship that challenges a narrow conceptualization of civil rights activism, countering the dominant interpretation of the southern Black freedom struggles as an overwhelmingly peaceful and non-violent response to the violence of white supremacy. Continue reading Williams’ review here.

The domestic uncanny and the geographical unconscious: two new reviews

Over the past few years the spatial, social and cultural dimensions of the uncanny and of the unconscious have attracted increasing interdisciplinary interest. Two new books on these themes are reviewed on the Open Site:

9781409467724.PPC_alternative mobilitesFirst is Carol Lipman’s Co-habiting with Ghosts: Knowledge, Experience, Belief and the Domestic Uncannyreviewed by Sara MacKian. Further information about this title can be found here.

Sara is the author of Everyday Spirituality: Social and Spatial Worlds of Enchantment (Palgrave, MacMillan 2012).

 

 

 

 

9781409426271.PPC_Loukaki

Second is Argyro Loukaki’s The Geographical Unconscious, reviewed by Christos Kakalis. For further information on the book, follow this link.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Both titles were published by Ashgate earlier on this year.

Barry, Andrew 2013 “Material Politics: Disputes Along the Pipeline” reviewed by Kai Bosworth

51cxb9xGfyL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Kai Bosworth reviews Andrew Barry’s book “Material Politics: Disputes Along the Pipeline”

While many geographers and political theorists have argued that materials augment capacities for political experimentation, provoke public outrage, or shape power relations, others suspect that focus on the vague politics of matter is largely a force for rendering political contestation inoperable. In Material Politics: Disputes Along the Pipeline, Andrew Barry sidesteps both arguments, instead arguing that materials are bound up with the availability or transparency of information. Barry argues that the production of material information – lay and expert knowledge, documents, data and evidence of harm or injury – can often lead to new or more intense forms of dissent, especially over the frontier between public and clandestine information. Barry demonstrates this thesis through a wide-ranging and comprehensive account of the forces that attempt to demarcate where, how and which materials come to be disputed in the construction of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline. Through an examination of a number of different sites and materials: landslides, beehives, concerned citizens and international NGOs, artistic practices, knowledge controversies, labor disputes, and archives of documents, Barry constructs a vast web of the relations and processes that come to matter (or don’t) in the political construction of a multinational energy infrastructure system.

Continue reading Kai Bosworth’s review here

Also on Society and Space by Kai Bosworth Notes towards a geological uprising by way of a dark feminism

 

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Casey, Edward. S. and Watkins, Mary. 2014 Up Against the Wall: Re-Imagining the U.S.-Mexico Border, reviewed by Eduardo Mendieta

Up against the wall“Walled in and without Home”

Edward. S. Casey and Mary Watkins, Up Against the Wall: Re-Imagining the U.S.-Mexico Border. University of Texas Press, Austin, 2014, 346 pages, $40.20 hardcover, $18.73 softcover. ISBN: 978-0-292-75841-4 (http://utpress.utexas.edu/index.php/books/casupa)

I am writing this text in the shadow of President Obama’s speech, now christened “Come out of the Shadows”, as well as the partisan and exorbitant reaction by Republicans denouncing the President’s plan to “deal responsibly with millions of undocumented immigrants who already live in our country.” In other words, I write about Casey and Watkins’s very timely book, in the shadow of yet another staging of the US’s struggle with its imperial and racial history, on the one hand, and its project and promise to be a beacon of light for the ‘tired, poor, huddled masses yearning to be free’—to paraphrase—on the other hand. This book is a celebration, and invitation to a reaffirmation, of this project and promise. Continue reading Society and Space’s Editorial Board member, Eduardo Mendieta’s review here

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