The Sociological Review Blog

Book Review: Factories for Learning by Christy Kulz

October 2018

There are many striking vignettes in Christy Kulz’s ethnographic study of a flagship academy school in London. One is her description of how students are required to recite a ‘pledge of allegiance to the self and its aspirational fulfilment’, six times per day, at the start of each lesson (2017, 58). Another is the ‘verbal cane’, the practice of teachers shouting and screaming in students’ faces – except when there are visitors or inspectors present, during which time this is prohibited (2017, 44). These vivid ethnographic descriptions alone would be enough to make this book a compelling read. But Kulz’s monograph also offers a thorough sociological analysis of the lived experience of attending or working in the school, and a complex and nuanced account of how academisation is reproducing gendered, raced and classed inequalities.

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The Craft of Co-writing

October 2018

I have written more with others than I have on my own, including co-authored books with multiple authors. I like doing both. Sole-authored pieces come with the delight of deciding on every single word and no compromises (at least until the reviews roll in). Writing with others comes with the delight of being able to hand it over when you get stuck, and the pleasure of discussing and fine-tuning something together. There is less potential for over-dramatising, writer’s block and generally losing a sense of perspective/the plot (‘It’s a disaster! I’m throwing this paper in the bin!’) with collaborative writing. Or maybe I have just been lucky with my collaborators? There is also a politics to co-authoring in an academic system that celebrates the individual. As I have argued elsewhere, in the age of superstar academics and the pressures of the REF, collaboration can be a form of quiet rebellion.

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Caring for the Community? The case of Hartlepool United

October 2018

With weekly attendances of less than 4,000 for their Vanarama National League matches, and a location in a neglected area of north-east England, Hartlepool United is an unheralded football club. However, recent events there offer a unique opportunity to align discussions about the role of football clubs in post-industrial settings with fundamental questions about the UK welfare state and social care regimes.

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International Courts as Places of Spectatorship and Dark Tourism?

October 2018

International courts are attracting tourists who share visual and digital accounts reviewing their visit. Here, I consider the International Criminal Court (ICC) as a tourist site of penal spectatorship, analysing how it may differ from historical ‘dark tourist’ sites like Auschwitz, Alcatraz or Chernobyl. Questions and issues raised here are timely, as international television series like Dark Tourist (2018) on Netflix are characterised as ‘travel TV’, expanding and redefining which places are considered ‘dark’ and open for visitation.

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Book Review: The Politics of New Immigrant Destinations

October 2018

Boucher and Gest (2015, p.182) have complained that the field of migration studies has paid too much attention to Western states and traditional destination countries. Scholars have neglected immigration in new destinations. These new destinations exist not only as countries receiving migration streams for the first time in recent history, but, on a smaller scale, as new locales within countries that have already received high immigration to its other parts. This collection, edited by Stefanie Chambers, Diana Evans, Anthony M. Messina, and Abigail Fisher Williamson, four political scientists based at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, focuses on examining the main challenges that have arisen from an increase in international migration to the U.S. and Europe; challenges not only for governments but also for immigrants and the existing populations in destination countries.

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