What are you reading? – 25 August 2016

A weekly look over the shoulders of our scholar-reviewers

August 25, 2016
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Carina Buckley, instructional design manager, Southampton Solent University, is reading Methods of Critical Discourse Studies, edited by Ruth Wodak and Michael Meyer (third edition, Sage Publishing, 2016). “Eight of the nine essays in this collection take as a starting point a ‘text’ of some sort and then analyse its implications for social reality across a range of contexts, including politics and social media, but with the primary aim of explicating a range of approaches and methodologies. Entirely accessible for anyone new to CDS, it also has much to offer the more experienced researcher in its deliberate tackling of the multidisciplinary nature of the subject. Despite not being a new field, Wodak and Meyer bring a freshness to CDS that makes this updated edition feel innovative and inspirational, and it goes much further in exploring power, dissent and oppression in our highly globalised society.”

Jim Butcher, reader in the geography of tourism, Canterbury Christ Church University, is reading James Heartfield’s The European Union and the End of Politics (Zero Books, 2013). “I would recommend this book to anyone looking to understand the meaning of Brexit. Heartfield is concerned with the relationship between the EU’s development and democratic political life. He makes a forthright defence of popular sovereignty, arguing that the EU has fed off and fostered a distancing of politics from the demos. That distance contributed strongly to the vote to leave the EU, often expressed as the desire for some ‘control’. The book draws on both the history of the EU and the theories that are used to explain and justify its development. The logic of Heartfield’s argument applied to Brexit is that this is an important democratic moment in which people of all political persuasions patronise and ignore the views of the masses at their peril.”

Emma Gee, lecturer in Classics, University of St Andrews, is reading Sara Williams’ The Financial Times Guide to Business Start Up (2015). “I got Sara Williams’ book when my son recently ordered the second volume of Trudi Canavan’s The Black Magician and it arrived instead. Since it couldn’t be returned, the hand of fate declared it must be read. The truly daunting prospects of raising the money to start a small business, thinking about VAT and employee pension contributions, premises, bookkeeping and (scariest of all) the signs of impending failure enumerated in the chapter called ‘Not waving, drowning’ are things that most full-time academics will never have to face; complain as they might about Brexit and the injustices of the research excellence framework, their lives are pretty cushioned. I would like to say that I am reading Solzhenitsyn, but the FT Guide speaks just as eloquently to the role of fate in human life.”

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