Our Book of the Month choice for January

The SSL ‘Book of the Month’ feature highlights a book in our collection that has been chosen by one of our Subject Consultants. This may be a recent addition to our stock or an existing item that we would like to share with you.

Image of John Southall (Bodleian Data Librarian and Subject Consultant for Economics and Sociology) sat in the SSL Data Area

 

January’s book of the month was selected by John Southall, Bodleian Data Librarian and Subject Consultant for Economics and Sociology.

 

Front cover of our Book of the Month. A star appears above the words 'The Meritocracy Trap' 'Daniel Markovits' under are the words 'A bold, brave critique - Michael Sandel' A rosette is overlapping the book and says 'SSL Book of the Month' on it.

 

 

The Meritocracy Trap

Daniel Markovits

Allen Lane, 2019

Shelfmark: HT684.MAR 2019

Also available as an eBook via SOLO.

 

Why was it chosen?

It was chosen because of the way it discusses fundamental concerns of Sociology such as social mobility and inequality.

Book Overview

It is an axiom of modern life that meritocracy promises to provide opportunity to all. The idea that reward should follow ability and effort is so entrenched in our attitudes that, even when society divides itself in other ways, all sides can be heard repeating meritocratic notions. Meritocracy cuts to the heart of who we think we are.

However, Markovits argues, meritocracy has become exactly what it was conceived to resist: a mechanism for the concentration and dynastic transmission of wealth and privilege across generations. Upward mobility has become a fantasy, and the middle classes are now more likely to sink into the working poor than to rise into the professional elite. At the same time, meritocracy ensnares even those who manage to claw their way to the top, requiring them to work with crushing intensity, exploiting their expensive educations in order to extract a return.

Reviews

Markovits shows the tenacity of meritocracy’s narrative pull and how easy it is to get entangled in its logic.” Phil Bell, LSE Review of Books

 This book flips your world upside down. Daniel Markovits argues that meritocracy isn’t a virtuous, efficient system that rewards the best and brightest. Instead it rewards middle-class families who can afford huge investments in their children’s education.” The Times

How can I access it?

This title is available in hard copy at the SSL at shelfmark HT684.MAR 2019 to consult in the library. It is also available on SOLO for Oxford University staff and students to access remotely using their SSO.

Image of an open book with the pages curled to form a love heartWhat would your SSL Book of the Month be? Do you have a favourite book in our collection? If so, we would love to know what it is. Add a comment below or email us.

Our Book of the Month choice for December

The SSL ‘Book of the Month’ feature highlights a book in our collection that has been chosen by one of our Subject Consultants. This may be a recent addition to our stock or an existing item that we would like to share with you.

 

December’s book of the month was selected by Sarah Rhodes, Subject Consultant for International Development, Forced Migration, African and Commonwealth Studies.

 

 

 

 

Global Africa: into the twenty-first century

Edited by Dorothy L. Hodgson and Judith A. Byfield

University of California Press, 2017

Available in hard copy at          HC 800.GLO 2017

Why was it chosen?

It was chosen to remind the reader that Africa continues to ‘offer complex and insightful explanations, strategies for solutions, and inspiration for the future’ (p.2).  A view more pertinent than ever today as the world struggles to contain the global pandemic.

Book Overview

Global Africa is a striking, original volume that disrupts dominant narratives that continue to frame our discussion of Africa, complicating conventional views of the region as a place of violence, despair, and victimhood. The volume documents the significant global connections, circulations, and contributions that African people, ideas, and goods have made throughout the world, from the United States, South Asia, Latin America, Europe, and elsewhere. Through succinct and engaging pieces by scholars, policy makers, activists, and journalists, the essays provide a wholly original view of a continent at the centre of global historical processes rather than on its periphery. Global Africa offers fresh, complex, and insightful visions of a continent in flux.

Reviews

‘The rich variety of contributions to Global Africa points to more diverse and complex ways of thinking about the importance and limitations of Africa’s connections to the rest of the world’.

Professor Frederick Cooper, New York University, author of Africa in the World: Capitalism, Empire, Nation-State

How can I access it?

This title is available in hard copy and is currently located on top of our New Book Display area, its shelfmark is HC 800.GLO 2017 and can be borrowed if you have borrowing priviledges.

Image of an open book with the pages curled to form a love heartWhat would your SSL Book of the Month be? Do you have a favourite book in our collection? If so, we would love to know what it is. Add a comment below or email us.

Our Book of the Month for November

The SSL ‘Book of the Month’ feature highlights a book in our collection that has been chosen by one of our Subject Consultants. This may be a recent addition to our stock or an existing item that we would like to share with you.

 

November’s book of the month was selected by John Southall, Bodleian Data Librarian and Subject Consultant for Economics and Sociology.

 

 

 

The Ambivalent Internet: Mischief, Oddity, and Antagonism Online

Whitney Phillips & Ryan M.Milner

Polity Press, 2017

Available in hard copy. Can be found in the SSL at HM851.PHI 2017

Why was it chosen?

It was chosen as an example of an interdisciplinary approach to the study of a key social issue in modern society.

Book Overview

This book explores the playful, weird and mean interactions that characterizes everyday expression online; from absurdist photoshops to antagonistic Twitter hashtags and deceptive identity play.

The authors focus especially on the ambivalence of this expression: the fact that it is too unwieldy, too variable across cases, to be essentialized as either old or new, vernacular or institutional, generative or destructive. Online expression is, instead, all of the above.

Grounded in multidisciplinary literature and vivid examples drawn from US online culture, The Ambivalent Internet presents a methodologically innovative account of the complexity underlying everyday online behaviours, their interaction with the evergrowing availability of information and their impact on wider society as a whole.

Reviews

“(Phillips and Milner take…) as the topic of each chapter in their book a prominent category of online participation: folkloric expression, identity play, constitutive humour, collective storytelling and public debate. In this way, they move from what is individual and intimate to what is collectively social and massively public in their overall examination of ambivalent online expression.”

European Journal of Communication.

Throughout their exploration of the ambivalent Internet, Phillips and Milner make many compelling arguments that are applicable to a broader readership from everyday Internet users to journalists, cultural critics, policy makers, and digital media and communication scholars.”

Deyei Oh, Information, Communication & Society.

How can I access it?

This title is available in hard copy at the SSL at shelfmark HM851.PHI 2017 and can be borrowed if you have borrowing priviledges.

Image of an open book with the pages curled to form a love heartWhat would your SSL Book of the Month be? Do you have a favourite book in our collection? If so, we would love to know what it is. Add a comment below or email us.

Our Book of the Month choice for October

The SSL ‘Book of the Month’ feature highlights a book in our collection that has been chosen by one of our Subject Consultants. This may be a recent addition to our stock or an existing item that we would like to share with you.

Jo Gardner sat at her desk.

 

October’s book of the month was selected by Jo Gardner, Bodleian Social Science Librarian and Subject Consultant for Politics and International Relations.

 

 

 

Cover of Revolutionary World: Global upheaval in the modern age

 

Revolutionary World: Global upheaval in the modern age

Edited by David Motadel

Cambridge University Press, 2021

Available as an eBook or a hard copy can be found in the SSL at HM876.REV 2021

Why was it chosen?

It was chosen because it has been described as an exceptionally useful collection for those teaching and researching revolutions, revolutionary politics and global history,

Book Overview

The editor of this book brings together contributors to explore ten revolutions across time and space through a transnational, territorialised lens, from the Atlantic Revolutions to the Arab Spring. Bringing together a group of distinguished historians, Revolutionary World shows that the major revolutions of the modern age, which are often studied as isolated events, were almost never contained within state borders and were usually part of broader revolutionary moments.

Reviews

“With the chapters providing ideal entrances into their respective revolutions, this exceptionally useful collection will prove valuable to those teaching and researching revolutions, revolutionary politics and global history”
Thomas Furse, City, University of London

“A remarkable attempt to globalise the history of revolution. By illuminating international connections, the authors also rescue many movements from the retrospective nationalisation of history.’
Timothy Garton Ash, author of The Magic Lantern:The Revolution of ’89 Witnessed in Warsaw, Budapest, Berlin and Prague

This rich collection illuminatingly surveys the world of revolutions from the late eighteenth century to the Arab Spring. It should set the global history of revolutions on a new path by raising as many fertile questions as it answers: a major achievement.’
David Armitage, author of Civil Wars: A History in Ideas

How can I access it?

This title is available in hard copy at the SSL at shelfmark HM876.REV 2021 to consult in the library. It is also available on SOLO for Oxford University staff and students to access remotely using your SSO.

Image of an open book with the pages curled to form a love heartWhat would your SSL Book of the Month be? Do you have a favourite book in our collection? If so, we would love to know what it is. Add a comment below or email us.

Our Book of the Month choice for September

The SSL ‘Book of the Month’ feature highlights a book in our collection that has been chosen by one of our Subject Consultants. This may be a recent addition to our stock or an existing item that we would like to share with you.

Subject Consultant Andy Kernot stood by some book shelves in the SSL selecting a geography book

 

September’s book of the month was selected by Andy Kernot, Subject Consultant for Geography, Social Policy & Intervention, Public Policy, and Internet Studies.

The cover of the book Prisoners of Geography by Tim Marshall. It has a blue background (to represent the sea) and part of a map of the world on top, which is filled with geographical terms.

 

 

 

Prisoner of Geography: Ten maps that tell you everything you need to know about global politics

Tim Marshall

Elliott and Thompson Limited, 2016

Available as an eBook or a hard copy can be found in the SSL at JC319.MAR 2016

Why was it chosen?

All leaders are constrained by geography. Their choices are limited by mountains, rivers, seas and concrete. Yes, to follow world events you need to understand people, ideas and movements – but if you don’t know geography, you’ll never have the full picture.

If you’ve ever wondered why Putin is so obsessed with Crimea, why the USA was destined to become a global superpower, or why China’s power base continues to expand ever outwards, the answers are all here. It’s time to put the ‘geo’ back into geopolitics.

Book Overview

In ten chapters (covering Russia; China; the USA; Latin America; the Middle East; Africa; India and Pakistan; Europe; Japan and Korea; and the Arctic), using maps, essays and occasionally the personal experiences of the widely travelled author, Prisoners of Geography looks at the past, present and future to offer an essential insight into one of the major factors that determines world history.

Reviews

“Quite simply, one of the best books about geopolitics you could imagine: reading it is like having a light shone on your understanding… Marshall is clear-headed, lucid and possessed of an almost uncanny ability to make the broad picture accessible and coherent … the book is, in a way which astonished me, given the complexities of the subject, unputdownable… I can’t think of another book that explains the world situation so well.”

Nicholas Lezard, Evening Standard

“Compels a fresh way of looking at maps – not just as objects for orientation or works of art, but as guideposts to the often thorny relations between nations”

The New York Times

“a timely reminder that despite technological advances, geography is always there, often forcing the hand of world leaders.” 

Mark Cooper-Jones, Geographical

How can I access it?

This title is available in hard copy at the SSL at shelfmark JC319.MAR 2016 to consult in the library. It is also available on SOLO for Oxford University staff and students to access remotely using your SSO.

Image of an open book with the pages curled to form a love heartWhat would your SSL Book of the Month be? Do you have a favourite book in our collection? If so, we would love to know what it is. Add a comment below or email us.

Our Book of the Month choice for August

The SSL ‘Book of the Month’ feature highlights a book in our collection that has been chosen by one of our Subject Consultants. This may be a recent addition to our stock or an existing item that we would like to share with you.

 

August’s book of the month was selected by Sarah Rhodes, Subject Consultant for International Development, Forced Migration, and African & Commonwealth Studies Subject Consultant.

 

 

 

 

No Go World: How fear is redrawing our maps and infecting our politics

Andersson, Ruben

University of California Press, 2019

Available as an eBook or a hard copy can be found in the SSL at JA76.AND 2019

 

Why was it chosen?

It was chosen as it explores ‘how risk, danger and fear are ‘remapping’ the world with dire ethical and practical consequences’ (Journal of Refugee Studies).

Book Overview

War-torn deserts, jihadist killings, trucks weighted down with contraband and migrants—from the Afghan-Pakistan borderlands to the Sahara, images of danger depict a new world disorder on the global margins. With vivid detail, Ruben Andersson traverses this terrain to provide a startling new understanding of what is happening in remote “danger zones.” Instead of buying into apocalyptic visions, Andersson takes aim at how Western states and international organizations conduct military, aid, and border interventions in a dangerously myopic fashion, further disconnecting the world’s rich and poor. Using drones, proxy forces, border reinforcement, and outsourced aid, risk-obsessed powers are helping to remap the world into zones of insecurity and danger. The result is a vision of chaos crashing into fortified borders, with national and global politics riven by fear. Andersson contends that we must reconnect and snap out of this dangerous spiral, which affects us whether we live in Texas or Timbuktu. Only by developing a new cartography of hope can we move beyond the political geography of fear that haunts us.

Reviews

‘This beautifully written book takes us on a journey through the distanced interventions of the war on terror showing how, in these global times, efforts to push risk ever further away end up bringing it closer creating the basis for a no go world. Full of ideas and stories, and with hope as well as pessimism, it is the sort of book that needs to be read slowly.’

Mary Kaldor, Professor of Global Governance, London School of Economics

‘One of the best books available on what is commonly perceived in the West as the refugee crisis but is in fact a world rent by fear and conflict, with refugees as one symptom.

Craig Calhoun, University Professor of Social Sciences, Arizona State University, and former Director of the London School of Economic

How can I access it?

This title is available in hard copy at the SSL at shelfmark JA76.AND 2019. If you’ve booked a study space in the library you can find it on our shelves, alternatively, if you can borrow books from our library, place a Click & Collect request for it. It is also available on SOLO for Oxford University staff and students to access remotely using your SSO.

Image of an open book with the pages curled to form a love heartWhat would your SSL Book of the Month be? Do you have a favourite book in our collection? If so, we would love to know what it is. Add a comment below or email us.

Our Book of the Month choice for June

The SSL ‘Book of the Month’ feature highlights a book in our collection that has been chosen by one of our Subject Consultants. This may be a recent addition to our stock or an existing item that we would like to share with you.

 

June’s book of the month was selected by Jo Gardner, Bodleian Social Science Librarian and Subject Consultant for Politics and International Relations

 

 

 

 

The Return of Great Power Rivalry: Democracy versus autocracy from the Ancient World to the U.S. and China

Kroenig, Matthew

Oxford University Press, 2020

Available as an eBook or a hard copy can be requested from the Bodleian Closed Stacks.

 

Why was it chosen?

It was chosen because it has been described as a ‘must-read’ for understanding the current international environment.

Book Overview

The author seeks to answer a question central to international politics: Why do great powers rise and fall? He offers a sweeping historical analysis of democratic and autocratic competitors from ancient Greece to the Cold War. He employs a unique framework to understand and analyse the state of today’s competition between the democratic United States and its autocratic competitors, Russia and China.

Reviews

“The breadth of Kroenig’s historical case studies and the parsimony of his analyses help this book stand out, making it a must-read for understanding the current international environment.”
J.R. Clardie, Northwest Nazarene University

“At a time when the global struggle between democracy and autocracy is reaching a critical new stage, this book promises to touch nerves and influence minds from Washington to Moscow to Beijing. Policy-relevant social science at its best!”
M. Steven Fish, Professor of Political Science at the University of California

“In this age of widespread pessimism about the future of democracy, this book makes a powerful argument: democracy is not only better for the people, but may have the edge against autocracies in the coming great power rivalry. It is an erudite, well-argued and uplifting book.”
Daron Acemoglu, Institute Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and co-author of Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty

How can I access it?

This title is available as an eBook via SOLO. Oxford University staff and students can access eBooks remotely by logging into SOLO with their SSO. It is also available in hard copy in the Bodleian Closed Stacks and can be requested via Stack Request to consult in the library.

Image of an open book with the pages curled to form a love heartWhat would your SSL Book of the Month be? Do you have a favourite book in our collection? If so, we would love to know what it is. Add a comment below or email us.

Our Book of the Month choice for May

The SSL ‘Book of the Month’ feature highlights a book in our collection that has been chosen by one of our Subject Consultants. This may be a recent addition to our stock or an existing item that we would like to share with you.

 

May’s book of the month was selected by John Southall. Bodleian Data Librarian and Subject Consultant for Economics and Sociology.

 

 

 

The Madness of Crowds: Gender, Race and Identity

Murray, Douglas

Bloomsbury Continuum, 2019

Available as an eBook.

 

Why was it chosen?

It was chosen because of the way it seeks to interrogate the culture wars playing out in social media, universities and online.

Book Overview

We are living through a postmodern era in which the grand narratives of religion and ideology have collapsed. In their place have emerged a crusading desire to right perceived wrongs and a weaponization of identity, both accelerated by the new forms of social censorship and news media. Narrow sets of interests now dominate the agenda as societies becomes more and more tribal.

Readers cannot afford to ignore Murray’s masterfully argued and fiercely provocative book, in which he seeks to inject some perspective into the discussion around this generation’s most complicated issues. He ends with a call for free speech and shared common values.

Reviews

“… an incredibly refreshing read, raising questions that many are likely to have entertained for years but have not been confident in raising in the public forum.” James TooleyEconomic Affairs

“Whether one agrees with him or not, Douglas Murray is one of the most important public intellectuals today.” –  Bernard-Henri Lévy

How can I access it?

This title is available as an eBook via SOLO. Oxford University staff and students can access eBooks remotely by logging into SOLO with their SSO. It is also available in hard copy on our shelves at shelfmark HD1216.MUR 2019.

Image of an open book with the pages curled to form a love heartWhat would your SSL Book of the Month be? Do you have a favourite book in our collection? If so, we would love to know what it is. Add a comment below or email us.

Our Book of the Month choice for April

The SSL ‘Book of the Month’ feature highlights a book in our collection that has been chosen by one of our Subject Consultants. This may be a recent addition to our stock or an existing item that we would like to share with you.

 

The postcolonial age of migration

Ranabir Samaddar

University of Routledge, 2020

Available as an eBook.

 

 

 

April’s book of the month was selected by Sarah Rhodes. Subject Consultant for International Development and Forced Migration.

Why was it chosen?

Topical and an important intervention in contemporary global migration and refugee studies, this title offers new sources, interpretations, and analyses in understanding postcolonial migration.

Book Overview

This book critically examines the question of migration that appears at the intersection of global neo-liberal transformation, postcolonial politics, and economy. It analyses the specific ways in which colonial relations are produced and reproduced in global migratory flows and their consequences for labour, human rights, and social justice. The book discusses issues such as trans-border flows among countries of the South; migratory movements of the internally displaced; growing statelessness leading to forced migration; border violence; refugees of partitions; customary and local practices of care and protection; population policies and migration management (both emigration and immigration); the protracted nature of displacement; labour flows and immigrant labour; and the relationships between globalisation, nationalism, citizenship, and migration in postcolonial regions.

It also traces colonial and postcolonial histories of migration and justice to bear on the present understanding of local experiences of migration as well as global social transformations while highlighting the limits of the fundamental tenets of humanitarianism (protection, assistance, security, responsibility), which impact the political and economic rights of vast sections of moving populations.

How can I access it?

This title is available as an eBook via SOLO. Oxford University staff and students can access eBooks remotely by logging into SOLO with their SSO.

Image of an open book with the pages curled to form a love heart

What would your SSL Book of the Month be? Do you have a favourite book in our collection? If so, we would love to know what it is. Add a comment below or email us.

Our Book of the Month choice for March

The SSL ‘Book of the Month’ feature highlights a book in our collection that has been chosen by one of our Subject Consultants. This may be a recent addition to our stock or an existing item that we would like to share with you.

 

The probiotic planet: using life to manage life

Jamie Lorimer

University of Minnesota Press, 2020

Available as an eBook.

 

 

 

March’s book of the month was selected by Andy Kernot. Subject Consultant for Geography, Social Policy, Internet Studies and Public Policy. 

Why was it chosen?

Most of us are familiar with probiotics added to milk or yogurt to improve gastrointestinal health. In fact, the term refers to any intervention in which life is used to manage life―from the microscopic, like consuming fermented food to improve gut health, to macro approaches such as biological pest control and natural flood management. In this ambitious and original work, Jamie Lorimer offers a sweeping overview of diverse probiotic approaches and an insightful critique of their promise and limitations.

Book Overview

During our current epoch—the Anthropocene—human activity has been the dominant influence on climate and the environment, leading to the loss of ecological abundance, diversity, and functionality. Lorimer describes cases in which scientists and managers are working with biological processes to improve human, environmental, and even planetary health, pursuing strategies that stand in contrast to the “antibiotic approach”: Big Pharma, extreme hygiene, and industrial agriculture. The Probiotic Planet focuses on two forms of “rewilding” occurring on vastly different scales. The first is the use of keystone species like wolves and beavers as part of landscape restoration. The second is the introduction of hookworms into human hosts to treat autoimmune disorders. In both cases, the goal is to improve environmental health, whether the environment being managed is planetary or human. Lorimer argues that, all too often, such interventions are viewed in isolation, and he calls for a rethinking of artificial barriers between science and policy. He also describes the stark and unequal geographies of the use of probiotic approaches and examines why these patterns exist.

The author’s preface provides a thoughtful discussion of the COVID-19 pandemic as it relates to the probiotic approach. Informed by deep engagement with microbiology, immunology, ecology, and conservation biology as well as food, agriculture, and waste management, The Probiotic Planet offers nothing less than a new paradigm for collaboration between the policy realm and the natural sciences.

Reviews

This brilliant book delivers an incisive reading of probiotic cultural practices today—taking in everything from home fermentation to permaculture to rewilding. Jamie Lorimer expertly shows us that social and scientific projects that aim at re-calibrating microbial, bodily, and ecological worlds are experiments in the politics of symbiosis. In our days of viral peril, The Probiotic Planet is a vital reminder of the multiple futures biology may yet prepare.

Stefan Helmreich, author of Sounding the Limits of Life: Essays in the Anthropology of Biology and Beyond

Moving between human intestines and forests patches, The Probiotic Planet maps a diverse and emerging terrain of ecological experimentation, both formal and vernacular. A transdisciplinary analysis that brings detailed attention to scientific practices into dialogue with critical social theory, this book is also a bold and important experiment in its own right.

Heather Anne Swanson, director, Aarhus University Centre for Environmental Humanities

How can I access it?

This title is available as an eBook via SOLO. Oxford University staff and students can access eBooks remotely by logging into SOLO with their SSO.

Two hardcopies are able available to consult in the SSL. One confined to the library and one that can be borrowed.

Image of an open book with the pages curled to form a love heart

What would your SSL Book of the Month be? Do you have a favourite book in our collection? If so, we would love to know what it is. Add a comment below or email us.