Yes we can! Doing phronesis

Real social science: Applied phronesis is an important book. Edited by Bent Flyvbjerg, Todd Landman and Sanford Schram, it is a valuable sequel to Flyvbjerg’s (2001) highly cited Making social science matter (MSSM).

Public policy at work: A feminist critique of global economic development

Harvesting feminist knowledge for public policy addresses gender and socioeconomic inequalities spurred by the 2008-2009 economic downturn and exacerbated by increases in food prices as well as shortages, access to fuel, and financial failures of the state and banking industries. The book project is a product of the 2000 Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action as well as eleven years of discussion among feminist thinkers envisioning alternative futures with goals of social and economic justice.

The reinvention of tradition

In the introduction to his book, Icons of the left, O.K. Werckmeister (1999: 1-2) argued that the problem Marxists faced after the collapse of the Soviet bloc concerned not so much the validity of their ideas, but whether they could have any lasting organic relation to effective political organizations and action in capitalist society.

An injury to all

‘An Injury to One is an Injury to All’. This slogan of the Industrial Workers of the World has come to represent the claim that trade union activities should extend beyond the interests of the unions’ members and to a broader ‘community of fate’, as John S. Alquist and Margaret Levi call it.  Indeed, rather than looking at organisations in general, their book focuses on trade unions, US and Australian transport trade unions in particular.

‘But it hardly needs saying…’

The seating arrangements in the French Estates-General assumed two sides, left or right, for or against, this or that. Seats have to go somewhere, but the division of politics into two ‘sides’ has certainly encouraged glaring and shouting. It encourages us to believe that this is a practice which requires firm distinctions, and to express disappointment when all available options on a ballot paper converge on focus group centrism. For most people, to recognise something distinctive called Politics, we need to see assertion, struggle, and antagonism.

New spirit of critique?

du Gay and Morgan’s edited collection, comprising of thirteen chapters, focuses on the seminal and similarly titled The new spirit of capitalism (TSC), co-authored by Boltanski and Chiapello, originally published in France in 1999, and later translated into English in 2005. Boltanski and Chiapello argued that from the mid-1970s onwards, capitalism began to reorganize and abandoned hierarchical Fordist structures that epitomised earlier periods of production, in favour of network-based forms of organizing within the workplace.

What is this thing?


Non-ephemeral nomads

Protest camps is an inside look at various protest camps all over the world, from Resurrection City in Washington, DC to Greenham Common in the United Kingdom and to Horizon in Stirling, Scotland; from Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt to OccupyLSX in London. The book provides a detailed account on how protest camps work to achieve their goals. More specifically, it provides both inside and outside accounts of protest camps. The book thereby takes into account several theoretical approaches, such as a sociological, a political science, and a communications approach.

Corruption, abuse of power and lack of trust in Sweden: Does NPM corrupt?

Erik Wångmar’s book on corruption presents an astonishingly thorough and methodical historical analysis of five corruption cases set in the world of Swedish local politics, i.e. on a municipal level. While impressive in its laboriously scope, archival accuracy and extensive time frame, the book does not counterbalance this empirical focus with an equally rewarding theoretical analysis and development.


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