I haven’t posted very much on here recently about the things I’ve been reading (this is one of the things I’ve used this blog for over the last couple of years, with me adding short reviews of articles and books). This is largely because my research time over the last couple of months has been spent editing the manuscript for my Punk Sociology book. I hope to post news about this soon. But I have been doing some other reading to prepare the ground for after the book’s completion.
I’ve written a review of the above book, Form and Dialect in the Sociology of Georg Simmel: A New Interpretation by Henry Schermer and David Jary, which will hopefully be published in Berfrois. It’s a newly published book on Simmel’s work. It argues that despite the apparent fragmentation in Simmel’s work, with him writing on lots of different topics, there is actually a ‘general method’ or analytical model that underpins his work. They use the book to outline this model and explore its presence in his writings. The show how Simmel’s use if examples (or ‘forms’) combines with his use of ‘polarities’ and ‘dualities’. I’ll post a link to the review when its available.
In the last few days I’ve also been working on another book review. This time it’s a review for the journal Antipode. The have an online site that hosts the book reviews. I’ve been asked to write a review of Matthew Sparke’s textbook Introducing Globalization: Ties, Tensions and Uneven Integration. I think the plan is to have a small section with three or four reviews of the book and a response from the author. So far I’ve read two chapters and started putting the review together. The editors have suggested that I use the review to reflect on pedagogy and the use of textbooks as well as reviewing this particular book. So I’ve been trying to think more broadly about the use of textbooks in teaching programmes. Sparke’s book is an lively read, it’s very engaging and it reanimates the concept of globalization. I was a bit worried about taking this on, but fortunately this is a really impressive textbook with lots to say about contemporary global interdependencies. Again, I’ll post a link when the review appears.
Finally, I’ve been doing some exploratory reading to help me to build up so e ideas for future writing. I had a very loose idea to write a short piece about Walter Benjamin in 1932. To get some background I have been reading Esther Leslie’s excellent book on Benjamin – published in Reaktion Books Critical Lives series. This has proved really helpful. It’s a great book. Yesterday I discovered that the essay I planned to open my piece on 1932 with was actually written four years earlier. It seems that it got delayed for some reason. I’m just using This book to see if I can replan my piece – by either switching the focus to 1928 or by thinking about the context in which this piece reemerge e in 1932. I’m not sure yet, this is still only a rough idea (and I’m still working out a writing plan for the coming months). I’m planning to keep reading and see what happens. I’ll probably turn to Benjamin’s letters next, if I decide to continue with this project. I’ve posted about these before. I’ve also posted before about the value of exploratory reading.