Abbott, Pamela and Wallace, Claire, An Introduction to Sociology: Feminist Perspectives, London: Routledge, 1990
Abbott and Wallace begin with a critique of what they see as having been the development of a sociology dominated by a ‘malestream’ approach. This book provides a reasonably in-depth discussion of how girls/women have been discriminated against in many areas of social life, both ‘public’ and ‘private’. These areas include education, health, work, politics and the family, as well as in judicial processes, citing the criminal justice system as being particularly patriarchal in nature. The authors provide a range of feminist theories that are used to challenge the common sense and even sociological assumptions about the role of women in society. This is a very useful text in the way in which it is set out very much like a standard introductory sociology text, but with a focus on the half of the population that generally gets short-shrift in most introductory sociology texts.
Adorno, Theodor et al, The Authoritarian Personality, New York: Harper, 1950
Adorno, like many from The Frankfurt School, was influenced by the works of Marx and Freud. Thus, his classic study looks not just at the social or structural influences that foster racism, but also the psychological. Adorno effectively carries out a form of triangulation in his research, by providing first questionnaires, and then following this up with more in-depth interviews of a smaller sample of respondents. The research seeks to understand why some people have or assume ‘authoritarian personalities’ – the submission of one’s self to those in authority and the hostility to those who do not. Part of Adorno’s study attempts to make sense of why many German people under Hitler were so willing to acquiesce either directly in the atrocities caused by the Nazi regime, or willingly turn a blind eye to what appeared to be obvious in retrospect.
NB: This study will be invaluable to students who wish to undertake the Research unit, as it demonstrates examples of different research methods.
Anderson, Margaret, Thinking About Women: Sociological Perspectives on Sex and Gender, second edition, London: Macmillan, 1988
Anderson’s book is set out in three parts, and generally takes the form
of an introductory textbook; however, an introductory textbook that
approaches a whole range of social issues and social institutions from a
feminist perspective. Part 1 is about how sociological perspectives have
sought to explain women’s lives, covering such areas as sexism and the social
construction of knowledge, and sex, gender and culture. Part 2 is interested in providing explanations of women’s experience of economic relations, such as work (public and private) and the family, as well as health and reproduction, religion, and how women fare in the criminal justice system as both victims and perpetrators of crime. Part 3 looks forward to alternatives to ‘malestream’ views in both society and sociology. Thus, Anderson demonstrates two competing means of effecting change for women: the reformism of ‘liberal’ feminist perspectives, and the radical alternatives of socialist, Marxist and radical feminism.
Bauman, Zygmunt, Globalization: The Human Consequences, Cambridge: Polity Press, 1998
Bauman’s analysis of globalisation provides a compelling discussion of the contradictions that emerge from it, such as cultural ‘hybridisation’, the globalisation of the world’s elites (e.g. multinational/transnational corporations), which are in the minority, against the ‘localisation’ of the majority of the world’s people. Covering issues such as class and polarisation, the changing global map, the role of the nation-state, consumerism and its impact on the world’s poor, and international law, Bauman provides a relatively brief (134 pages) but effective overview of the impact globalisation has on human beings.
Brown, Phillip and Lauder, Hugh, Capitalism and Social Progress: The Future of Society in a Global Economy, London: Palgrave, 2001
This book provides a critical account of what might be referred to as the ‘third way’ policies of the ‘New’ Labour and ‘new’ Democrat policies in Britain and the United States, respectively. They press the argument that despite profoundly innovative improvements in technology, and the argument that globalisation will help alleviate all of the ills of the world, such as poverty, and its close relations, under-development, scarce food resources and homelessness, for example, what has indeed happened, is that far from being able to eradicate these terrible global inequalities, technological innovations and globalisation have actually helped to ensure that there is a heightening social polarisation in the wealthy West. This, despite both the US and the UK being wealthier nations than at any time in their respective histories, according to Brown and Lauder.
Castles, Stephen and Kosack, Godula, Immigrant Workers and Class Structure in Western Europe, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1973
This Marxist view of comparative migration patterns of four Western European countries provides a stark contrast to the ‘immigrant-host’ perspective of The Chicago School. The emphasis of Castles’ and Kosack’s study is that capitalism and not cultural differences accounts for poor race relations between ‘host’ populations and immigrants. This study finds substantial similarities in the
inequalities experienced by immigrants in each of the case studies. What is of real importance in this book is the attention that the authors give to the way they see the capitalist system ‘passing the buck’ for its own inadequacies, contradictions and failures to those of the immigrant minority, who are viewed by the ‘host’ working class as a highly visible source of cheap labour who undermine and undercut the jobs of those of the ‘host’ population. As such, racism is accepted, and even justified by both the working class, and many in wider society, as a means of protecting a national way of life, including jobs, homes, etc., for nationals. Castles and Kosack contend that as well as encouraging the working class to blame immigrants for what is in reality the unworkable nature of the capitalist system, this state of affairs also serves to ensure that a wedge is driven into the working class, thus undermining its ability to seriously challenge capitalism.
Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies (CCCS) Race and Politics Group, The Empire Strikes Back: Race and Racism in 70s Britain, London: Hutchinson, 1982
This book is an edited collection of articles from a host of respected sociologists who have ascribed a neo-Marxist approach to their respective essays. The text begins with an outline of what they perceive to be the main thrust of this approach, namely that although colonialism was a significant determinant of racist sentiment and action, the latter does, in fact, have a history that pre-dates the former. What sets the CCCS out from a classical Marxist approach is that, whilst they see capitalism as an exploiter of migrant labour as a significant part of the problem, particularly in the 1970s period of economic crises, there are other historical, political and cultural factors (racial, ethnic and class) that are to blame. What the authors conclude is that what appears to be fashioning racism, particularly amongst the working class, was a move away from biological arguments about the superiority of the white race to one largely built upon an establishment of cultural and/or national superiority.
Commission on Global Governance, Our Global Neighbourhood: The Report on the Commission on Global Governance, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995
This report was commissioned by the 28-member state commission to not only provide a broader understanding of global issues that affect the world today, but also to provide a general blueprint for better global governance of issues such as the environment, poverty, development, national and global security, economic trends and international power relationships. The report is fairly comprehensive, acting as a message to all of the world’s leaders to pay heed to their often very damaging nationally orientated policy decisions.
Daniels, Peter et al (eds), Human Geography: Issues for the 21st Century, Harlow: Prentice Hall, 2001
This human geography textbook provides the reader with a broad range of related issues of globalisation and development for the 21st century. The book is broken down into four sections, each of which has a degree of overlap with the other sections. A comprehensive discussion is made by individual author articles on cities and the problems created by urbanisation; alternatives to city life; cultural differentiation; challenges for food production and distribution; economic transformations, consumption and global capitalism; and the role of the individual and the nation-state. Much of the discussion and evaluation is presented with reference to a theoretical understanding. Includes numerous maps indicating the spread of development/underdevelopment, etc., as well as photographs and other graphics. This book also comes with an interactive companion website, which is accessed through registration with the publisher’s website. There is both a student and tutor website.
NB: There is also a chapter by John Bryson and Nick Henry on Fordist and post-Fordist production methods, which would be useful for its relevance to the topic on Organisations.
Fanon, Frantz, Black Skin, White Masks, New York: Grove Press, 1967
Written by a psychiatrist who experienced at first hand the Algerian Liberation Front’s war of national liberation against French colonial rule, this book combines philosophy, psychology, metaphysics and even literature and poetry to explore a range of issues confronted by black people in a white dominated world. Fanon’s work discusses the contentious issues of race and racism in the Antilles of the 1970s that have continued to be no less contentious amongst different social groups at the beginning of the 21st century, in any number of countries. His range of analysis and commentary covers language and identity, inter-racial relationships, and psychopathology. Fanon also provides an excellent critique of what he argues to be the West’s misguided notion that colonised people adopted dependency complexes. A significantly challenging, revolutionary and engaging book that provides a useful, though far from obvious, integration of a number of social scientific and non-social scientific perspectives.
Fanon, Frantz, The Wretched of the Earth: The Handbook for the Black Revolution that is Changing the Shape of the World (with an Introduction by Jean-Paul Sartre),New York: Grove Press, 1963
With an Introduction by the darling of the French left, Jean-Paul Sartre, that compels one to read the main text, this is another example of revolutionary and revolution-inspiring writing from the psychiatrist with a finger on the pulse of revolutionary fervour in colonised Africa. Fanon’s account of the war of independence from brutal colonial French rule is useful on a number of
levels. It begins by providing a searching analysis of the uses and usefulness of violence for political ends by both the rulers of a deeply racist colonial regime, and those who would seek to rid their country of unwelcome despots. His acceptance of violence, as a justified individualised form of ridding one’s nation of foreign oppressors, is typified by the following statement:
‘At the level of individuals, violence is a cleansing force. It frees the native from an inferiority complex and from his despair and inaction; it makes him fearless and restores his self-respect.’ (Fanon, p.94)
Fanon moves his argument further to a discussion on the usefulness of spontaneity of resistance against racist policies of an occupying power, but does go on to warn against the disadvantages of creating a national consciousness. The main problem relating to the latter is the experience of racist colonial policies, which ensure that the mass of the indigenous population remained uneducated and ignorant. He also devotes much attention to the development and re-establishment of a national culture. Fanon devotes the penultimate chapter to a series of psychiatric case studies, which provide good examples of the structural impact of racism/colonialism (and he largely equates the two) upon individuals. In the conclusion, Fanon offers advice against what he sees as the ravages of Western capitalism, with his advice perhaps being viewed by critics of the current path of globalisation as sadly unheeded.
‘[The West] now lives at such a mad, reckless pace that [it] has shaken off all guidance and all reason, and [it] is running headlong into the abyss; we would all do well to avoid it with all possible speed.’ (p.312)
Giddens, Anthony, Runaway World: How Globalisation is Reshaping our Lives, London: Profile, 1999
This book is based on the BBC’s 1999 Reith Lectures series, the last of such lectures in the 20th century. This may be seen as rather fitting, considering the impact Giddens has had on the development of ‘third way’ politics and policies promoted by many Western governments from the 1990s, not least Britain’s New Labour and, in the US, the Democratic policies of Bill Clinton’s presidency. Seen by many as Britain’s current leading social thinker, Giddens sets out the chapters, or lectures, under five areas: globalisation, risk, tradition, the family and democracy. In each, he sets out his vision of the world, and how best to cope with the rapid transformation of it into increasingly inter-related and integrated sets of phenomena.
NB: The chapter on the family contains discussion useful to other topics within Advanced Higher Sociology, such as the sociology of both Religion and Gender.
This book takes up the argument proffered by the CCCS on the new racism, and takes his argument further, by attempting to combine an understanding of race and ethnicity. Gilroy argues that this is a more appropriate approach to take in trying to understand racism than studies concentrating on either but not both. The author takes the view that racial identity is something that evolves over time as a result of various factors, such as migration, self-identity, racist experiences, and conscious choices. One example he cites is that in the UK, the term ‘black’ was used in reference to Asians and Afro-Caribbeans, but later became used as a term for the latter only. This, he argues, demonstrates that there is a new racism that concentrates on cultural rather than biological considerations. Gilroy spends a lot of time in this text criticising what he sees as ‘ethnic absolutism’, the view that cultures are enduring and unchangeable. Part of the book also tackles what he perceives to be the ‘myth of black criminality’. He believes that crimes committed by racial/ethnic minorities are political acts understood only in the context of racism. Black people, then, become criminal as a way of protecting themselves against an unjust society. Rastafarianism is seen as an avenue for conducting this political struggle. He does not, however, imply that ethnic minority groups are more inclined to crime. Rather, black criminality is seen as a myth created by the police and the media; the police, because of their racism, focus on black youngsters and this is why a disproportionate number appear in the crime statistics.
Held, David et al, Global Transformations: Politics, Economics and Culture, Cambridge: Polity Press, 1999
This is a large, comprehensive book from some of the key social science commentators on globalisation, which uses a substantial amount of primary data to discuss the on-going transformation of global society. The book begins with an examination of how the role of the nation-state and its involvement in world politics was increasingly supplemented with formations of international bodies (e.g. the United Nations) seeking to lay down rules for some form of global governance. The following section is a useful next step, as it looks at the history of military expansionism and the 20th century as the age of global conflict. The book goes on to cover global markets and patterns of finance, along with the impact that multinational/transnational corporations have asserted in this area, what the authors see as the modern globalisation era notwithstanding. Migration patterns, culture and its possible globalisation, and globalisation as the harbinger of environmental catastrophe are also usefully tackled topics.
Held, David and McGrew, Anthony (eds), The Global Transformations Reader: An Introduction to the Globalization Debate, Cambridge: Polity Press, 2000
Taking on board the themes raised in their book, Global Transformations (1999), Held and McGrew have put together an excellent set of essays by key commentators on globalisation, from enthusiastic supporters of the belief that it is a force for global good, to those who perceive globalisation to be a widely legitimised source of problems for those in both the developing and developed worlds. The Reader’s sections seek to conceptualise globalisation, discuss the argument that there is a changing nature to political power, debate the fate of national culture in a globalising world, analyse the extent to which the economy is actually becoming more global, evaluate the extent of social inequalities, and review the ability of globalisation to mete out global justice.
NB: Chapter 35 is an essay on the gender dimension in the globalisation debate, and, as such, would prove useful to the topic covering the sociology of Gender.
Holton, Robert J, Globalization and the Nation-State, Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1998
Holton’s central premise in this book is that globalisation, far from being a relatively new phenomenon, can in reality be traced back over a considerable span of human history, not all of which is Western inspired. He is also unequivocal in his view that whilst globalisation does have an impact on the role played by nation-states, aspects of globalisation, such as cosmopolitanism, have a tendency to remain consumed by allegiances to localism and nationalism.
Hoogvelt, Ankie, Globalisation and the Postcolonial World: The New Political Economy of Development, Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1997
This book looks at the historical development of international/global relations from colonialism to globalisation. Hoogvelt makes the argument that globalisation has replaced colonialism as a system for making the world’s poorer states dependent upon the wealthy West, and how multinational/transnational corporations have in many circumstances become the new colonialists. A very comprehensive account of numerous globalisation and development theories is analysed, from Harvey’s theory of time/space compression to Giddens’ time/space ‘distantiation’. Four areas of the world prone to substantive development problems, Latin America, Africa, Asia, and the Islamic world, are discussed in some detail, with the latter being particularly interesting as an example of resistance to developmentalism.
This book also includes a useful chapter on Fordism and flexible production methods, which would be beneficial to those students/tutors wishing to cover Organisations.
McCrone, David, Understanding Scotland: The Sociology of a Stateless Nation, London: Routledge, 1992
Whilst not conveying much discussion and analysis of any issues of race in Scotland, this is nevertheless a very useful text in terms of its coverage of a range of social issues in a Scottish context. McCrone provides some theoretical applications to the development of Scottish identity and institutions over the course of the late 19th and 20th centuries, examining power and economic relationships, political affiliations, religiosity, education, mass media and social class. Perhaps more useful as a source for the ‘Power and Politics’ unit, this is, however, a valuable text for students interested in a sociology of Scotland, on which there is a dearth of publications.
Millet, Kate, Sexual Politics, London: Abacus, 1971
This is an interesting and thought-provoking book from an American feminist author, whose work, among others’, became something of a rallying point for the rising tide of feminist sentiment in Western countries throughout the 1970s. Using a base of sexual politics theory, Millet argues that the ‘Sexual Revolution’ has been challenged by political, polemical and literary obstacles. As such, she critically evaluates what she calls the ‘counterrevolution’ against advances for women, which occurred up to the 1960s, including under both the Nazi and Stalinist regimes of Germany and the Soviet Union, respectively. Millet also provides an interesting discussion on the ideological impact of Freudian psychoanalytic, post-Freudian and functionalist analysis on sexual politics. Interestingly, and, to some extent, fairly uniquely, the author also takes to task the work of a range of literary ‘greats’ for the sexism and patriarchy she sees as being inherent in their work, such as Norman Mailer,
D H Lawrence and Henry Miller.
Mitter, Swasti, Common Fate, Common Bond: Women in the Global Economy, London: Pluto Press, 1986
Useful for information/debate on issues of race, work, globalisation and class and gender inequality, this is essentially an economics text that, as the title suggest, seeks to explain what the author argues is the unenviable role of women in the global economy. Mitter explains how Western capitalism, through the medium of multinational/transnational corporations, have ensured a range of divisions of labour: a global division of labour between the rich North and the poor South; class and technological divisions of labour within both hemispheres; and a gender division of labour, which is also affected by class, region and technology. The author uses an extensive range of grassroots feminist research from various countries to explain how women are fighting back against capitalist patriarchal exploitation.
NB: This text will provide for a useful source of material for the unit on Organisations, particularly the organisation of work and work practices.
Modood, Tariq et al, Changing Ethnic Identities, London: Policy Studies Institute, 1994
This study is based upon semi-structured and group interviews with the participants coming from South Asian or Caribbean backgrounds, and seeks to understand a range of social issues among these groups, such as religious beliefs, identity and family life. Modood et al seek to question studies that discuss identity in terms of ethnicity or political reaction to racism as being too limited, and suggest that whilst these may be important factors, they are not, individually, sufficient to explain the development of identity. What the authors find is that, as there exist numerous British identities, the importance attached to issues such as religion and ethnic origin, for example, will change from individual to individual and group to group. What they argue is that identities also change across generations, religion, (ethnic) region, and nationality. Many people in their study also see themselves as citizens of British society, but culturally distinct from it. Some also identified themselves as perhaps culturally more British than their ethnic culture.
NB: This study provides an excellent example of two forms of qualitative research that could provide a useful reference source for those students wishing to undertake the Research unit.
Oakley, Anne, Sex, Gender and Society, ‘Towards a New Society’ Series, London: Maurice Temple Smith/New Society, 1972
This is a classic feminist sociological text that uses a range of disciplines to inform the author’s argument in the debate on Women’s Liberation. Biology, animal behaviour studies, anthropology and sociology are all called upon to both exemplify and reinforce her view that what defines ‘men’ and ‘women’ is a far from clear-cut science. Drawing on a host of comparative international and national cultural examples, as well as what are often defined by wider society as moral issues, such as the status of the unborn child, Oakley provides a discursive account of issues such as sex and gender, sex and personality, intellect and social roles. She devotes a sizeable slice of her book to a discussion of sexuality, covering such issues as the denial or non-acceptance of a woman’s sense of sexual desire, and the inequality of heterosexual sexual relationships.
Park, Robert, Race and Culture, Glencoe, IL: The Free Press, 1950
This book, produced by one of the sociologists from Chicago University’s influential Chicago School, provides evidence from an empirical study Park carried out in that city. He contends that racial consciousness only grows
out of a sense of people belonging to different groups. Thus, he argues that
until cultural and racial diasporas occurred, racial consciousness, and hence racism, did not exist. Using the ‘immigrant-host’ perspective, his work centres
on notions of ‘centrifugal dispersion’ and ‘centripetal force’ (the bringing
together of different races). Parks’ study provides claims to notions of adjustment, competition, accommodation and assimilation among the different racial groupings, though he concludes that different ‘white’ ethnic groups found assimilation easier than those of different races, such as blacks and Asians. This study, whilst dated, is very useful as a means of comparing North American studies of race and racism with those in the UK.
NB: This empirical study could provide significant value to students undertaking the Research unit.
Potter, Robert B et al, Geographies of Development, Harlow: Prentice Hall, 1999
A human geography textbook that is focused on development issues, this text begins with a definition of development, and then leads the reader through explanations of colonialism, globalisation and development. Partitioned into three broad sections, the first looks in some depth at development theories, the second at the components of development and under-development, such as demographic dynamics and the allocation of resources. The third section looks at the ‘movement’ or ‘flows’ of human interaction (e.g. communication technologies, transport, trade) and the urban and rural spatial development.
This text includes numerous maps, tables, illustrations, photographs, etc., indicating the spread of development/underdevelopment.
Rex, John and Moore, Robert, Race, Community, and Conflict: A study of Sparkbrook, Oxford: Oxford University/Institute of Race Relations, 1967
A classic sociological study commissioned by the Institute of Race Relations. The authors analyse the race relations of a multi-racial community in Birmingham, in what they term a ‘twilight zone’ – i.e. run-down, inner-city areas of multi-occupancy, tenured homes, prevalent among immigrant minority groups. Rex and Moore’s empirical study is interesting in that it not only seeks to explain problems faced by racial minorities in the UK, but also a large Irish immigrant minority who shared the experiences of immigrants from the West Indies and Indian sub-continent. The study places significant emphasis on types of available accommodation, drawing some stark contrasts between many in the indigenous population and those in the immigrant population. The book also looks at the impact of religion and other community activities on the experiences of the racial and ethnic mix in Sparkbrook.
NB: This book might prove a useful source of information for students wishing to undertake the Research unit. Chapter 7 might also be useful for a sociological understanding of the role played by religion among different races and ethnic groups.
Sanders, Peter, Urban Politics: A Sociological Interpretation, Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1979
Whilst not making reference to what many in sociology might perceive to be the specific regions for discussion on development, i.e. the global ‘South’ or developing world, this book nevertheless provides a solid theoretical and analytical observation of unequal issues of urban development in the ‘North’ or developed world. Sanders looks closely at the development of urbanisation theory in Britain, the US and Europe, particularly how the state, private capital and urban management inter-relate. This work also includes a case study of urban development, and its impact on a range of vested interests in one London borough. Whilst slightly dated, the book nevertheless offers the reader a clear insight into urban development issues in the North, which can be usefully applied as a comparison with urban development issues in the South.
Seabrook, Jeremy, In the Cities of the South: Scenes from a Developing World, London: Verso, 1996
This book provides an analytical insight from a journalist who has developed a speciality of writing on Third World issues. This example of Seabrook’s work takes the reader on a tour of several Asian cities, reflecting on the various experiences of economic and labour market realities, with a particular emphasis on hardship and struggle. Seabrook believes that there is evidence, also, that experiences of such hardship and struggle are beginning to converge between the North and the South as a result of contradictions in the political global economy. This is a quite distinctive text from those written by academics, with a much easier reading style than most published academic studies. Thus, although not a text deep in sociological analysis, it does, however, provide evidence for some very useful sociological debate.
NB: This could also be a valuable source of information for examples of qualitative research, such as the use of both observation and interviews to capture a more ‘real life’ picture of the experiences of people in some of the poorest cities in the world.
Smart Carol (ed.), Regulating Womanhood: Historical essays on marriage, motherhood and sexuality, London: Routledge, 1992
This is a comprehensive edited text consisting of essays by a range of
academics in fields such as sociology, social policy, social work, social administration and women’s studies. Smart has provided a collection of
important analytical, contentious topics that will be of great value to those
who wish to understand human behaviour. Using examples, many of which
are of as much relevance today as they were in the historical period covered,
the contributing authors discuss reproduction and sexuality in the 19th
century; Victorian feminist vigilantism; child sex abuse and the regulation of
women; homes for unmarried mothers in the 1950s; 19th-century double standards in laws on adultery; motherhood and citizenship in late 19th- and early 20th-century Holland; and wife beating in the 18th and 19th centuries. A very useful source of information for students who wish to investigate a comparative historical understanding of patterns of sexual inequality.
Watkins, Alice et al, Feminism for Beginners, Cambridge: Icon Books, 1992
This is a helpful introductory guide that provides both an accessible overview of a range of feminist issues, such as women’s role in the public and private spheres, the emergence and rise of Women’s Liberation in the 1970s, and the reactionary backlash of the New Right in both the US and the UK throughout the 1980s and early 1990s. Using text, cartoon narrative, and illustrations and pictures, this book provides an interesting though limited discussion of the aforementioned, and also the slow historical process of the accumulation of rights for women in a number of countries (though there is a heavy emphasis on the West), as well as the rights that continue to elude the majority of women. These inequalities, as discussed in this book, relate to unequal pay, as well as women continuing to bear the main responsibility for childcare and housework, etc.