Review of The Biopolitics of Lifestyle: Foucault, Ethics and Healthy Choices, by Christopher Mayes

I recently published a book review of The Biopolitics of Lifestyle by Christopher Mayes in Fat Studies. Here is an excerpt:

What is especially productive in Biopolitics of Lifestyle is the clever disavowal of worn debates about the ethicality of, or personal responsibility for, fatness. Instead, Mayes reveals what he calls an “enabling network,” or intersections of knowledge, power, and subjectivity, which renders people who are supposedly harmful to society visible and governable. The enabling network makes “obesity” a major social, political, and economic problem, locates responsibility for harms caused by fatness in individuals, and simultaneously hides structural forces that contribute to corpulence. As such, “obesity” is a means by which members of society can be molded and disciplined in the service of state or capitalist interests.

This is a worthwhile book and the front cover artwork is wonderful.

New Publication: Book Review of Rom Harré’s “Pavlov’s Dogs and Schrödinger’s Cat: Scenes from the Living Laboratory”

I wrote a book review for the journal Public Understanding of Science of Rom Harré’s Pavlov’s Dogs and Schrödinger’s Cat: Scenes from the Living Laboratory (Oxford University Press, 2009). Here is a short excerpt:

Harré spends considerable time describing the use of plants in experiments, phenomena that demand more scholarly and public attention. He paints a picture of science teeming with diverse vital matter: animals, plants, bacteria, lichen, humans, and even “imaginary beings.” The implied thesis emphasizes research with life rather than on life.

I think the book would work well as reading material for introductory courses in science studies or animal studies.

New Book Review: “The Nature of Sexual Desire” by James Giles in Anthropological Forum

My book review of The Nature of Sexual Desire by James Giles appears in the most recent issue of Anthropological Forum. This book presents a useful argument that does not fall into either social constructionism or biological determinism; however, in the review, I relate my critique of its understanding of gender which I found to be uncritical in important ways and largely uninformed by feminist scholarship. Do readers have any comments on the book?