In this section you can read reviews of academic books covering the USA, and its continental neighbours, Canada and Mexico. Each weekend we publish two reviews, aiming to cover a wide range of books on all aspects of public policy and politics.
Book Review: Automating Finance: Infrastructures, Engineers and the Making of Electronic Markets by Juan Pablo Pardo-Guerra
In Automating Finance: Infrastructures, Engineers and the Making of Electronic Markets, Juan Pablo Pardo-Guerra offers a new examination of how stock exchanges have been automated through an incremental process, focusing on the infrastructural objects and work involved in the computerisation of the stock exchange in the UK and the US. This theoretically and empirically multilayered book will be particularly relevant for […]
In Critical Affect: The Politics of Method, Ashley Barnwell challenges the clear-cut separation of critical and affective approaches, examining how longstanding ideas of critique and criticism are applied by the recent wave of affect theory across the social sciences. As much a methodological reflection as a critique of existing literature, Barnwell offers both a meditation on how to read with […]
In Why Do We Still Have the Electoral College?, Alexander Keyssar unpacks the history of the Electoral College and explains why it persists despite longstanding criticism of the system and efforts to reform or abolish it. Adeptly written and bringing to light untold stories, this book should be read by anyone interested in the upcoming US presidential election, recommends Kyle Scott.
Book Review: Work Want Work: Labour and Desire at the End of Capitalism by Mareile Pfannebecker and J.A. Smith
In Work Want Work: Labour and Desire at the End of Capitalism, Mareile Pfannebecker and J.A. Smith address the problems in the prevailing discourse on work and outline how exactly we can put a post-work future into practice. As 2020 has witnessed the reshaping of work and workplaces due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this thought-provoking book offers a valuable […]
Book Review: The Economics of Belonging: A Radical Plan to Win Back the Left Behind and Achieve Prosperity for All by Martin Sandbu
In The Economics of Belonging: A Radical Plan to Win Back the Left Behind and Achieve Prosperity for All, Martin Sandbu seeks to address the extent to which many citizens of western democracies feel ‘left behind’ by recent economic changes, proposing a detailed plan for creating a just economy where everyone can belong. While finding this a highly readable and carefully […]
In Data Feminism, Catherine D’Ignazio and Lauren F. Klein use an intersectional feminist lens to examine unequal power structures in the realm of data, and highlight attempts made to rectify them. Showing how the data we collect is representative of our unequal society, this book is a call to action that will particularly benefit feminists seeking to learn how activism […]
Book Review: Kept From All Contagion: Germ Theory, Disease, and the Dilemma of Human Contact in Late Nineteenth-Century Literature by Kari Nixon
In Kept From All Contagion: Germ Theory, Disease, and the Dilemma of Human Contact in Late Nineteenth-Century Literature, Kari Nixon offers a new literary history exploring how late-nineteenth-century authors represented the conflict between the risk of contagion and vital social contact in a period which saw germ theory rise to public prominence. This is a skilled literary analysis for our time, […]
Book Review: Network Origins of the Global Economy: East vs. West in a Complex Systems Perspective by Hilton L. Root
In Network Origins of the Global Economy: East vs. West in a Complex Systems Perspective, Hilton L. Root argues for the need to consider economies and social orders as open, complex networks, focusing particularly on the transitions that have shaped Europe and China historically with implications for the present day. This original volume will not only serve as a useful textbook […]
In Theory of the Gimmick: Aesthetic Judgment and Capitalist Form, Sianne Ngai explores a pervasive and relatable aspect of everyday life under late capitalism: the ubiquity of the gimmick as a form that both seduces and repels. Tracing the gimmick through close readings of theory and case studies drawn from literature, art and film, this book is an incredible resource for […]