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Recommended Reading May 2010

BookgenericBe inspired, motivated, challenged and intrigued by this month's selection of books.








The New Individualism: The Emotional Costs of Globalization
Anthony Elliott and Charles Lemert
Palgrave Macmillan 

New_indivdualismThis is a new and revised edition of a book which has had a major impact upon the social sciences and public political debate.

Anthony Elliott and Charles Lemert's The New Individualism inspired readers with the dramatic suggestion that 'the reinvention craze' - from self-help and therapy culture to management restructurings and corporate downsizings - is central to a 'new individualism' sweeping the globe.

Giving particular attention to the narratives of people seeking to define anew their lives in an age of globalization, the authors contend that an endless hunger for instant change and relentless emphasis on self-reinvention is fundamental to grasping the disorientating effects of the new individualism.

This edition contains a substantial new Introduction in which Elliott and Lemert reply to some of the standard criticisms made of the theory of the new individualism, and also addresses the escalation of new individualist thinking in the wake of recent global crises.



The Authenticity Hoax
Andrew Potter

Authenticity_HoaxOne of Canada’s hippest, smartest cultural critics takes on the West’s defining value.

We live in a world increasingly dominated by the fake, the prepackaged, the artificial: fast food, scripted reality-TV shows, Facebook ‘friends’, and fraudulent memoirs. But people everywhere are demanding the exact opposite, heralding ‘authenticity’ as the cure for isolated individualism and shallow consumerism. Restaurants promote the authenticity of their cuisine, condo developers promote authentic loft living, and book reviewers regularly praise the authenticity of a new writer’s voice.

International best-selling author Andrew Potter brilliantly unpacks our modern obsession with authenticity. In this perceptive and thought-provoking blend of pop culture, history, and philosophy, he finds that, far from serving as a refuge from modern living, the search for authenticity often creates the very problems it’s meant to solve.





The End of Certainty
Stephen Chan
Palgrave Macmillan 

End_CertaintyThe End of Certainty is a magical realist book on world politics. Stephen Chan takes the reader on a rollercoaster ride through how we can establish a new kind of international relations and construct a common future for the planet.

The book's main argument is that international politics has failed because the certainties of singular traditions of philosophy fail to help us in understanding power shifts and struggles in an endlessly diverse world.

Chan argues that fusing different strands of Western, Eastern, religious and philosophical thought, is far more likely to help us understand and move forward amidst uncertainty. In doing so, he takes us on a journey from the battlefields of Eritrea to the Twin Towers, via the Book of Job,Clausewitz, Fanon and Wahabism.

You'll never think about politics in quite the same way again.




Time to Listen: How it Feels to be Young and Dying
Amber Turk
Wakefield Press 

Time_to_listenAmber Turk lived with an inoperable brain tumour for 12 months before dying in November 2003 at the age of 27. During her final year she wrote a journal documenting her emotional journey: her hopes, her despair, and finally her desire to leave the pain behind and embrace death.

This absorbing, thought-provoking and inspirational book is a unique window into the private world of a dying person. Compelling reading for students of medicine and other health professionals, Time to Listen will also interest those who consider the broader questions of meaning, spirituality and suffering, especially young people facing their own mortality.







Pink Noises: Women on Electronic Music and Sound
Tara Rodgers
Duke University Press 

Pink_noisesPink Noises brings together twenty-four interviews with women in electronic music and sound cultures, including club and radio DJs, remixers, composers, improvisers, instrument builders, and installation and performance artists.

The collection is an extension of, the critically acclaimed website founded by musician and scholar Tara Rodgers in 2000 to promote women in electronic music and make information about music production more accessible to women and girls.

That site featured interviews that Rodgers conducted with women artists, exploring their personal histories, creative methods, and the roles of gender in their work.

This book offers new and lengthier interviews, a critical introduction, and resources for further research and technological engagement.

Contemporary electronic music practices are illuminated through the stories of women artists of different generations and cultural backgrounds. They include the creators of ambient soundscapes, “performance novels,” sound sculptures, and custom software, as well as the developer of the Deep Listening philoso­phy and the founders of the Liquid Sound Lounge radio show and the monthly Basement Bhangra parties in New York.

These and many other artists open up about topics such as their conflicted relationships to formal music training and mainstream media representations of women in electronic music. They discuss using sound to work creatively with structures of time and space, and voice and language; challenge distinctions of nature and culture; question norms of technological practice; and balance their needs for productive solitude with col­laboration and community.

Whether designing and building modular synthesizers with analog circuits or performing with a wearable apparatus that translates muscle movements into electronic sound, these artists expand notions of who and what counts in matters of invention, production, and noise-making.

Pink Noises is a powerful testimony to the presence and vitality of women in elec­tronic music cultures, and to the relevance of sound to feminist concerns.

Eco-Sufficiency and Global Justice: Women Write Political Ecology
Ariel Salleh (editor)

Eco_sufficiencyAs the twenty-first century faces a crisis of democracy and sustainability, this book brings academics and alternative globalisation activists into discussion.

Through studies of global neoliberalism, ecological debt, climate change, and the ongoing devaluation of reproductive and subsistence labour, these uncompromising essays by internationally distinguished women thinkers expose the limits of current scholarship in political economy, ecological economics, and sustainability science.

With in-depth analyses of climate change, MDGs, financial meltdown, and new theoretical concepts for understanding humanity-nature links, this books is essential reading for students of political economy, ethics, global studies, sociology, women's studies, geography and environmental science.



Books selected by Katrina Fox, Editor-in Chief.

For details of where to send review copies, click on the Contact menu.





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