Book reviews

Book Review | The People vs Tech: How the Internet is Killing Democracy (and How We Can Save It) by Jamie Bartlett

Book Review | The People vs Tech: How the Internet is Killing Democracy (and How We Can Save It) by Jamie Bartlett

In The People vs Tech: How the Internet is Killing Democracy (and How We Can Save It), Jamie Bartlett offers an incisive account of the key challenges that Western democracy faces in light of the growing power of technology companies, presented alongside twenty suggestions for how to save it. While it could attend more to the role of capitalism in fostering such behaviour, the book will help readers formulate the questions that need to be asked of the technology surrounding us, recommends Kevin Seidler. 

Book Review | The Presidency of Barack Obama: A First Historical Assessment edited by Julian Zelizer

Book Review | The Presidency of Barack Obama: A First Historical Assessment edited by Julian Zelizer

With The Presidency of Barack Obama: A First Historical Assessment, editor Julian Zelizer brings together contributors to reflect on different aspects of the Obama administration, from social, economic and legal issues to foreign policy. Jonny Hall explores how the volume grapples particularly with the themes (and frustrations) of Tea Party obstructionism, Obama’s failure to live up to the expectations established by his 2008 campaign and the potential impact of the Trump presidency on his predecessor’s legacy. 

Book Review | Striking Women: Struggles and Strategies of South Asian Women Workers from Grunwick to Gate Gourmet by Sundari Anitha and Ruth Pearson

Book Review | Striking Women: Struggles and Strategies of South Asian Women Workers from Grunwick to Gate Gourmet by Sundari Anitha and Ruth Pearson

In Striking Women: Struggles and Strategies of South Asian Women Workers from Grunwick to Gate Gourmet, Sundari Anitha and Ruth Pearson offer an in-depth examination of two strikes – the Grunwick strike of 1976–78 and the strike at Gate Gourmet in 2005 – to highlight how South Asian migrant women have contributed to the struggle for workers rights in the UK. Praising the book’s incorporation of the wider social and historical context, Amal Shahid finds this an informative and accessible read for those passionate about the history and sociology of labour, gender and migration studies. 

Book Feature: Interview with Nine Dots Prize winner James Williams on new book Stand Out of Our Light: Freedom and Resistance in the Attention Economy

Book Feature: Interview with Nine Dots Prize winner James Williams on new book Stand Out of Our Light: Freedom and Resistance in the Attention Economy

Are digital technologies making politics impossible? This question launched the Nine Dots Prize in October 2016, a new award for creative thinking in the social sciences that seeks to encourage innovative, interdisciplinary responses to the pressing issues of our time. Chosen from over 700 applicants, James Williams was announced as the inaugural winner last year with his resulting book, Stand Out of Our Light: Freedom and Resistance in the Attention Economy, published on 31 May 2018 by Cambridge University Press in hard copy and open access formats. We spoke to James about the book and becoming the first recipient of the Nine Dots Prize. 

Book Review | Against Meritocracy: Culture, Power and Myths of Mobility by Jo Littler

Book Review | Against Meritocracy: Culture, Power and Myths of Mobility by Jo Littler

In Against Meritocracy: Culture, Power and Myths of Mobility, Jo Littler offers a rich analysis that intricately teases out the grasp ‘merit’ and ‘meritocracy’ have on everyday cultural and social narratives of value and power in contemporary society. This is a rewarding contribution to the shared work of challenging hegemonic, neoliberal myths that uphold the status quo, recommends Sarah Burton, and to the building of a better and fairer world. 

Book Review | The UK after Brexit: Legal and Policy Challenges edited by Michael Dougan

Book Review | The UK after Brexit: Legal and Policy Challenges edited by Michael Dougan

In the edited collection The UK after Brexit: Legal and Policy Challenges, Michael Dougan brings together contributors to explore the key challenges facing the UK legal system and broader public policy environment following the UK Brexit vote and resulting de-Europeanisation process. This comprehensive work gives prime insight into the profound restructuring of the UK’s institutional landscape that may be on the horizon, writes Jim McConalogue.

Book Review | Brexit and Beyond: Rethinking the Futures of Europe edited by Benjamin Martill and Uta Staiger

Book Review | Brexit and Beyond: Rethinking the Futures of Europe edited by Benjamin Martill and Uta Staiger

In Brexit and Beyond: Rethinking the Futures of Europe, editors Benjamin Martill and Uta Staiger bring together contributors to consider the possible implications of Brexit for the futures of Europe and the European Union. Available to download, the book’s interdisciplinary approach makes clear the difficulties of predicting the potential outcomes of an unfolding process while nonetheless outlining a number of different scenarios and possibilities in detail, writes Anna Nadibaidze.

Book Review | War in 140 Characters: How Social Media is Reshaping Conflict in the Twenty-First Century by David Patrikarakos

Book Review | War in 140 Characters: How Social Media is Reshaping Conflict in the Twenty-First Century by David Patrikarakos

In War in 140 Characters: How Social Media is Reshaping Conflict in the Twenty-First Century, David Patrikarakos explores how social media is shifting the power balance from governments and institutions towards individuals and networks and the impact this is having on contemporary warfare. Relating the personal stories of individuals caught up in conflict, this book underscores the centrality of narratives and storytelling to understanding the changing face of war today, writes Madeline McSherry.

Book Review | Republic of Islamophobia: The Rise of Respectable Racism in France by Jim Wolfreys

Book Review | Republic of Islamophobia: The Rise of Respectable Racism in France by Jim Wolfreys

In Republic of Islamophobia: The Rise of Respectable Racism in France, Jim Wolfreys describes the emergence of a ‘respectable racism’ against Muslims in France since the 1980s, fuelled by the ‘War on Terror’ and rooted in the nation’s colonial history. Praising the book’s candid and incisive writing, Elsa Stéphan welcomes this as a commendably comprehensive and accessible account on Islamophobia in contemporary France. 

Book Review | Handbook of Political Party Funding edited by Jonathan Mendilow and Eric Phélippeau

Book Review | Handbook of Political Party Funding edited by Jonathan Mendilow and Eric Phélippeau

How much should political parties, candidates and other interested bodies be allowed to spend, both generally and during election campaigns? With the Handbook of Political Party Funding, editors Jonathan Mendilow and Eric Phélippeau bring together contributors to explore questions surrounding both the funding and expenditure of political parties. Ron Johnston welcomes the volume as a valuable resource for discussions on how the current situation can be changed as well as the difficulties that may be encountered in the process.