Honey Money not to LSE's taste

Loose 'ties' with author emphasised after terrible notices for 'erotic capital' book. Jack Grove writes

September 22, 2011

Scathing reviews of a book encouraging women to cash in on their sex appeal have prompted the London School of Economics to distance itself from the author.

Catherine Hakim's Honey Money: The Power of Erotic Capital garnered some hostile reviews after it was published by Allen Lane last month, with many commentators aghast that an LSE sociologist should advocate that women use their sexual assets to get ahead.

The book's title is inspired by the catchphrase used by prostitutes in Jakarta who ask for cash upfront for sex - with women advised to exploit their own "erotic capital" to gain professional success.

It has now emerged that Ms Hakim's links to the LSE are perhaps looser than had been suggested. Although she is described as a "senior research Fellow of sociology" at the LSE on the book's dust jacket and in subsequent book reviews, Times Higher Education has learned that Ms Hakim has not been employed there since 2003.

She had, with the agreement of the school, continued to work from an LSE office and use email, telephone and other clerical-support facilities - despite not being part of the sociology faculty.

The institution has now written to Allen Lane, an imprint of Penguin, asking it to correct further publications, while Ms Hakim has been asked by the LSE not to refer to herself as an LSE sociologist, THE understands.

An LSE spokesman said: "Catherine Hakim was employed as a senior research Fellow at LSE until 2003. Subsequently she had an agreement with LSE that allowed her the use of an office and associated facilities but this arrangement has now ended."

Paul Gilroy, head of sociology at the LSE, also confirmed that Ms Hakim had left her research fellowship post in 2003, but did not want to comment further.

Ms Hakim, who expounded on "erotic capital" in a THE article in June last year, is described on her website as a "sociologist in the Complexity Group in the LSE" - a statement she reiterated when originally contacted by THE.

But Eve Mitleton-Kelly, founding director of the group, which uses the social psychology method of "complexity theory" to research workplace issues, told THE that Ms Hakim was not a member.

Professor Mitleton-Kelly said she had applied to join, but her expertise did not fit into the group's area of study. THE contacted Ms Hakim for clarification, but she had not responded at the time of going to press.

Criticism of Ms Hakim's book has been fierce. Jenni Russell, a reviewer for The Sunday Times, calls it "repetitious, rambling, contradictory (and) ill-argued".

She adds: "If this is what counts as intellectual discovery at the (LSE), or Allen Lane...I fear for the future both of universities and of serious books."

jack.grove@tsleducation.com.

Already registered?

Sign in now if you are already registered or a current subscriber. Or subscribe for unrestricted access to our digital editions and iPad and iPhone app.

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Dean of the School of Life and Medical Sciences UNIVERSITY OF HERTFORDSHIRE (MAIN ADDRESS)
Research Fellow in Regime and the Public Sphere GERMAN ASSOCIATION FOR EAST EUROPEAN STUDIES
Research Assistant CAMBRIDGE ASSESSMENT

Most Commented

Elderly woman looking up at sky

A recent paper claims that the quality of researchers declines with age. Five senior scientists consider the data and how they’ve contributed through the years

Otto illustration (5 May 2016)

Craig Brandist on the proletarianisation of a profession and how it leads to behaviours that could hobble higher education

smiley, laugh, happy, funny, silly, face, faces

Scholars should cheer up and learn to take the rough with the smooth, says John Tregoning

Eleanor Shakespeare illustration 19 May 2016

Tim Blackman’s vision of higher education for the 21st century is one in which students of varying abilities learn successfully together

James Minchall illustration (12 May 2016)

An online experiment proves that part of the bill for complying with the Freedom of Information Act is self-inflicted, says Louis Goddard