Sunday, February 20, 2011

Review essay: Melissa Milkie "Parenting in a Gendered World"

Bonnie Fox, When Couples Become Parents: The Creation of Gender in the Transition to Parenthood. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2009, 334 pp. $35.00 paper (978-0-8020-9184-0), $75.00 hardcover (978-0-8020-9183-3)
Gillian Ranson, Against the Grain: Couples, Gender, and the Reframing of Parenting. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2010, 214 pp. $28.95 paper (978-1-4426-0358-5)

Babies create dramatic life changes for adults, arguably the most striking of the life course, and for sociologists, they create a theoretically rich arena in which to examine gender. The birth of a baby impels women and men to negotiate and renegotiate how to earn and care for the next generation, and as they do this, gender relations and inequalities come into sharp focus. Two recent books, When Couples Become Parents: The Creation of Gender in the Transition to Parenthood, by Bonnie Fox, and Against the Grain: Couples, Gender, and the Reframing of Parenting, by Gillian Ranson, take up important sociological questions intimately embedded in how rearing children affects adults’ lives in a gendered society. Read more

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Review: Matthew Gill on Framing Finance

Alex Preda, Framing Finance: The Boundaries of Markets and Modern Capitalism. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 2009, 328pp. $US 25.00 paper (978-0-226-67932-7), $US 65.00 hardcover (978-0-226-67931-0).

In the eighteenth century, Alex Preda observes, financial speculators were socially marginalized. They were thought to undermine government, to divert resources away from productive activity, and to weaken the moral order by severing consumption from work. These critiques live on, of course, but many of those who would previously have been described as speculators are now able to describe themselves as investors. Framing Finance shows how the distinction between speculation and investment developed in financial market actors’ favor during the nineteenth century, not least as a result of the increasing credibility, and then authority, of their own self-interpretations. Read more

Review: Rod Beaujot on Men, Women, and Household Work

Judith Treas and Sonja Drobnic, eds. Dividing the Domestic: Men, Women, and Household Work in Cross-National Perspective. Studies in Social Inequality. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2010, 280 pp. $US 50.00 hardcover (987-0-8047-6357-8).

The seventeen authors of this excellent collection have produced a very unified volume on the division of domestic work. Just as the division of housework is asymmetric by gender, so is the division of labour in Sociology, as represented here by 13 women and 4 men authors. The authors do not use the same definition of domestic work, and thus the introductory chapter on “why study housework” does not define the concept, nor do we know if it includes child care and household maintenance, in the view of the editors. … The overview chapter by Judith Treas provides an excellent theoretical statement, starting with rational choice, and constraints, then going to gender ideology and relative resources, and finally to gender in the institutional context of the broader society. All chapters are theoretically informed and empirically based.  Read more

Review: Kevin Walby on Emotionalizing Organizations

Barbara Sieben and Åsa Wettergren, Emotionalizing Organizations and Organizing Emotions. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. 2010. 295 pp. $US 105.00 hardcover (978-0-230-25025-4)

Sociologists have recently shown great interest in emotions, passions, sentiments, and feelings, evinced by the publication of numerous books, articles, and edited volumes. Emotionalizing Organizations and Organizing Emotions contributes to this growing body of literature. Sociological interest in emotions follows a considerable period of time during which emotions were assumed to be of scholarly interest to psychologists alone.  Read more

Review: Matthias Gross on Young & Matthews, The Aquaculture Controversy in Canada

Nathan Young and Ralph Matthews. The Aquaculture Controversy in Canada: Activism, Policy, and Contested Science. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 2010, 312 pp. $34.95 paper (978-0-7748-1811-7), $85.00 hardcover (978-0-7748-1810-0)

Does cultivating freshwater and saltwater fish populations under controlled conditions instead of harvesting wild fish make practices of aquaculture or aquafarming part of the solution to the decline of global wild fisheries? Or does the farming of fish, shrimp, oysters or algacultures foster overfishing and pose unacceptable risks to ecological integrity and human health? In their engaging book, The Aquaculture Controversy in Canada: Activism, Policy, and Contested Science, Nathan Young and Ralph Matthews analyze a classical clash between proponents of a novel technique and the critical stance that points to its unintended (mainly negative) side effects. Read more

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Compte rendu: Jonathan Roberge sur Nathalie Heinich

Nathalie HeinichGuerre culturelle et art contemporain. Une comparaison franco-américaine.
Paris: Hermann, 2010, 179 pp. 26 € paper (978 2 7056 7063)

Les travaux de Nathalie Heinich sont aujourd’hui connus par un cercle qui dépasse de beaucoup celui des initiés à la sociologie de l’art. … Pour le dire succinctement, Nathalie Heinich apparaît maintenant comme une incontournable de la sociologie française, sinon mondiale. Dans ce dernier opus, elle expose les résultats d’une enquête menée aux États-Unis il y a une quinzaine d’années, mais dont l’auteure assure qu’ils ont gardé toute leur actualité — aussi parce que ces résultats sont comparés avec d’autres issus du contexte français. La question au cœur de l’ouvrage est alors la suivante : pourquoi et comment l’art se voit-il rejeter de part et d’autre de l’Atlantique; qu’en est-il, autrement dit, des « grammaires axiologiques partagées par les acteurs d’une même culture » face aux défis représentés par l’art au sein de la cité.  Lire plus