Book Review: A Research Agenda for Neoliberalism by Kean Birch

Neoliberalism has become a term that is more often used than fully understood in academic discussions, popular writings on the economy and/or the news media. There is a large and growing library of books on the subject, yet still students from undergraduate to PhD level, as well as academics and other commentators, use the term as if we all knew what it meant, and as a catch-all prejudicial accusation levelled at any aspect… Read more
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Book Review: My Life as a Spy: Investigations in a Secret Police File by Katherine Verdery

Nearly three decades have passed since the fall of the communist regimes in Europe and the crumbling of the Soviet Union. The scholars whose work had focused on this part of the world have now reached the full maturity of their intellectual selves, and many have decided to share their experiences. One of these is Katherine Verdery, who in her most recent book, My Life as a Spy, has written about the surveillance file that… Read more
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Book Review: Invisible Countries: Journeys to the Edge of Nationhood by Joshua Keating

Invisible Countries is a series of vignettes on the edges of nationhood, physically and legally. It explores an easily accessible number of questions about what it means to be a nation, including the effects on a person’s identity, relationships between nations and how macro issues have personal consequences, whether when navigating border checkpoints as part of daily commutes or volunteering abroad in an… Read more
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Book Review: New Female Tribes by Rachel Pashley

Last month, the US Open saw one of its most controversial tennis finals in modern memory, in a showdown between sporting legend Serena Williams and new kid on the block Naomi Osaka. Accused by umpire Carlos Ramos of taking illicit coaching tips from the sidelines, Williams fought back in a fiery on-court confrontation, calling Ramos a ‘thief’ and a ‘liar’. The incident sparked debate both in support of and… Read more
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Book Review: Shock Therapy: Psychology, Precarity and Well-Being in Postsocialist Russia by Tomas Matza

Since Russia’s tumultuous transition from communism to capitalism in the early 1990s, the country has grappled with economic, political and cultural challenges, which have frequently been the focus of academic studies. Tomas Matza’s examination of psychotherapy in Russia offers a novel vantage point from which to understand the stories of individual Russians who have faced these challenges. The book’s… Read more
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Book Review: Nihilism and Technology by Nolen Gertz

In this short but hugely engaging book, Nolen Gertz, assistant professor of Applied Philosophy at the University of Twente, manages to both provide a compelling and rich introduction to Friedrich Nietzsche and nihilism as well as avoid the all-too-common reductionism of popular discourse around technology. Rather than boil down the question of technology to the simple binary choice of ‘is this thing good or bad?’, … Read more
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Book Review: Bad Environmentalism: Irony and Irreverence in the Ecological Age by Nicole Seymour

Efforts to address climate change sometimes seem to have the quality of a joke about them: lawmakers continue to put their fingers in their ears and pretend ecological devastation is a myth, while their well-meaning colleagues propose solutions that feel like rearranging the deckchairs on board the Titanic. Faced with this political picture, despair appears a reasonable response—but this, Nicole Seymour argues… Read more
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Book Review: The Value of Everything: Making and Taking in the Global Economy by Mariana Mazzucato

Looking at the things around you, do you think they have some value? If the answer is yes, is it simply because they have a price in the market? If the answer is still yes, then The Value of Everything: Making and Taking in the Global Economy, authored by Mariana Mazzucato, is essential reading. ‘Value’ used to be a primary tenet in economics. It essentially originates from the cost of production and determines the… Read more
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Book Review: Race News: Black Journalists and the Fight for Racial Justice in the Twentieth Century by Fred Carroll

Amid a contentious dispute with their newspaper’s publisher, a group of journalists prepares to strike. Tensions flare as the publisher threatens firings amid rumours of union organisation and slashes vacation time in the wake of an ill-fated effort to counter a decline in subscriptions. The publisher blasts the burgeoning union as ‘an outlaw dues-collecting organisation’. After reaching an agreement… Read more
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Book Review: Race Women Internationalists: Activist-Intellectuals and Global Freedom Struggles by Imaobong D. Umoren

‘Wakanda forever!’ If cultural commentators are correct, these words are prophetic: Black Panther heralds a seismic shift in the global cultural landscape. The film has brought new energy to long-sustained conversations about Pan-Africanism and left viewers wondering about the relationship of the African diaspora to the proverbial continental homeland. The phrase and hand gesture from the film have,… Read more
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