Category Archives: Sociology

Guest Post from Roger Cotterrell

Posted by Luana Life, Marketing Coordinator

Roger CotterrellRoger Cotterrell, Professor of Legal Theory at Queen Mary, University of London, UK, provides today’s guest blog. He is the author of Law, Culture and Society: Legal Ideas in the Mirror of Social Theory — an Editor’s Choice title in our Law list. The following post includes background information about the book and his research motivations, thoughts, and experiences that helped shape the volume’s success and contribution to the field.

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Law culture and societyLaw, Culture and Society originated in a series of essays written over an eight year period. But it was intended as far more than just a collection of linked papers. I saw all of the studies that contributed to it as part of a single, tightly integrated project, even if one with several branches. I wanted to show through this book what I had come to see as a necessary new perspective on the study of law in society. Since I had long been interested in legal theory and committed to studying law from a sociological perspective, the book was a kind of first summation of what I had gradually worked out as the most productive way to apply this sociological outlook in a theoretically consistent way in interpreting legal ideas. So, it was subtitled ‘legal ideas in the mirror of social theory’. As in much of my work, a guiding motivation was to show the relevance of sociological insights for juristic, doctrinal studies of law – the kinds of studies with which lawyers and law students are most familiar.

Looking back now, a decade after the book’s original publication, I can see two factors as especially important in determining the form that Law, Culture and Society took. The first was that in the years leading up to its publication I had become increasingly interested in comparative legal studies – an area of legal scholarship that throughout its development has been more open than most to making alliances with the social sciences. The strong links I had developed with comparative lawyers encouraged me to consider more carefully how sociological perspectives could aid them, and to ask how the whole enterprise of comparative law could acquire more solid theoretical foundations by drawing on ideas from social theory. So, the book was written partly to address students of comparative law.

It seemed obvious that comparative legal studies would become more important in a globalising world. Pressures to harmonise law across national boundaries were becoming more intense. But at the same time ‘local’ cultures – often reflecting particular traditions, values and allegiances – clearly sought to resist some of these harmonising pressures and called on law to express their distinctiveness. There seemed to be a dual movement focused on law: it must seek the efficiency of similarity produced through harmonisation but it must also appreciate cultural difference. As a consequence, ‘culture’ would have to become a very important focus of attention for legal scholars.

Sociology and anthropology had already developed many ideas about the nature of culture that deserved attention. However, when I came to examine carefully the ideas about ‘legal culture’ that were current in socio-legal studies I felt they lacked rigour. So an important part of my project, reflected in Law, Culture and Society, was to find a way of thinking about culture that could be conceptually defensible, consistent and systematic, and practically relevant for legal analysis as well as for social scientific inquiries about law.

A second main factor also shaped the book’s form. I had come to feel that the old agenda of socio-legal studies – to study the interaction between ‘law’ and ‘society’ – was becoming exhausted. Socio-legal scholars had tended to treat ‘society’ as referring to national societies and ‘law’ as the law of nation states. But social research showed that social and economic relationships were increasingly transnational and international, and law in practice was less and less confined to national law. Law, Culture and Society introduces and develops the idea of communal networks that can cross nation state boundaries, and it suggests that different kinds of communal relationship typically pose different legal problems and present different regulatory needs. Equally, the diversity of communal networks within national societies is a matter of great juristic relevance. So, the book tries to displace the old fixation with national societies as law’s sole concern in favour of a much more open view of communal networks – national, intra-national and transnational.

I had not been thinking of culture when I first wrote about communal networks. However, I came to think that culture could be best understood in terms of them. It could be seen as the bonds that allow these various networks to exist. So, the book’s approach was intended to suggest new agendas for social study of law. I used it to reconsider the possibilities for ‘transplanting’ law from one cultural environment to another, as well as the nature of authority in comparative law, and the multifaceted character of culture as a concern for law. More broadly, I claimed that the law-and-community approach could help to clarify one of the most basic foci of legal analysis – the idea of responsibility.

Since the book appeared I have further developed its approach, which has also been used by other scholars working in diverse fields. Today we can at least see clearly that social studies of law are becoming ever more important and that their character is changing as law becomes more transnational and international, and as networks of socio-economic relations become ever more varied, diverse and intricate within and across national boundaries. Socio-legal researchers and socially-aware lawyers surely have plenty of work to do and I hope that Law, Culture and Society can still prove helpful.

Roger Cotterrell

June 22nd 2015

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Examination Copies of this title are available on a 60 day trial basis for lecturers considering course adoption. To request a copy of a book, fill out the online inspection/examination form.

Violence Against Women – an ongoing problem

Posted by Claire Jarvis, Senior Commissioning Editor

On the 25th of June of this year the BBC reported that there had been a record number of prosecutions for violence against women and girls. The CPS report showed that there had been 107,000 prosecutions for rape, domestic violence and ‘honour’ crimes in the year to April 2015. This figure is an increase of 18% on the previous year.

These figures demonstrate the on-going issue on violence again women in all its forms. Here at Ashgate we are proud to have published a number of recent books on the subject written by some of the leading scholars, policy-makers and activists working in this area, all with the aim of eradicating this problem once and for all.

Books Published:

Moving in the shadowsMoving in the Shadows: Violence in the Lives of Minority Women and Children (2013) Edited by Yasmin Rehman, freelance consultant, Liz Kelly, London Metropolitan University, and Hannana Siddiqui, Southall Black Sisters.

Honour based violenceHonour-Based Violence: Experiences and Counter-Strategies in Iraqi Kurdistan and the UK Kurdish Diaspora (2015) Authored by Nazand Begikhani, University of Bristol, Aisha K. Gill, University of Roehampton, and Gill Hague, University of Bristol.

Young peoples understanding of mens violence against womenYoung People’s Understandings of Men’s Violence Against Women (2015) Authored by Nancy Lombard, Glasgow Caledonian University.

Forthcoming:

Forced marriage and honour killings in BritainForced Marriage and ‘Honour’ Killings in Britain: Private Lives, Community Crimes and Public Policy Perspectives (August 2015) Authored by Christina Julios, Birkbeck, University of London and The Open University.

Eradicating Female Genital Mutilation: A UK Perspective (Forthcoming November 2015) Authored by Hilary Burrage.

Our Children and Other Animals – Unlearning Our Concept of Animals

Posted by Michael Drapper, Marketing Executive

This article originally appeared on Ruby Roth’s We Don’t Eat Animals blog. Ruby’s three illustrated children’s books, That’s Why We Don’t Eat Animals, Vegan is Love and V is for Vegan, are discussed in Matthew Cole and Kate Stewart’s Our Children and Other Animals. You can read Ruby’s full article here.

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I am boggled and honored to have my children’s books academically analyzed by two university lecturers, Matthew Cole and Kate Stewart.  Their book, Our Children and Other Animals: The Cultural Construction of Human-Animal Relations in Childhood, includes quite a discussion of my work—the imagery and representation of animals, my illustration techniques, compositions—how they all help young readers conceptualize their relation to animals. I’ve taken many art history courses and have always been leery of my teachers’ analyses of artworks. As an artist, myself, and having drawers full of unfinished work I’d never want anyone to see, I imagine that maybe even Degas would have scoffed at the heavy meaning assigned to any one of his works—maybe a painting he would’ve wanted to throw in the garbage. Having my work in the hot seat, though, I have to say, Cole and Stewart shocked me with their accuracy. I was stunned at the clarity with which they perceived not only my intentional illustrative strategies, but subconscious decisions, too.

They captured emotions I felt while painting these books, unspoken messages I wanted to relay to my potential young readers, and they beautifully articulated many of the underlying, tacit motives for designing the book as I did—from the animals’ eyes to the composition of racing animals running to an implied, but invisible end.

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If you love sociology and the study of veganism, too, this academic book is a fascinating look at how we come to relate to animals and what we need to address in order to change the status quo. It’ll exercise your mind and help you discuss veganism even more intelligently with others, too. Especially kids.

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Our children and other animalsOur Children and Other Animals focusses on the socialization of the human use of other animals as resources in contemporary Western society. The book explores the cultural reproduction of human-nonhuman animal relations in childhood with close attention to the dominant practices through which children encounter animals and mainstream representations of animals in children’s culture – whether in terms of the selective exposure of children to animals as ‘pets’ or as food in the home or in school, or the representation of animals in mass media and social media. As such Our Children and Other Animals reveals the interconnectedness of studies of childhood, culture and human-animal relations.

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Choice Outstanding Academic Title awards for 2014

Posted by Emily Ferro, Marketing Coordinator

Ashgate is thrilled to announce that Choice has honored three Ashgate books by naming them Outstanding Academic Titles for 2014. The recognized titles are Decolonizing Social Work; Ageing, Ritual and Social Change: Comparing the secular and religious in Eastern and Western Europe; and The Ashgate Research Companion to the Thirty Years’ War. Books recognized by Choice display ‘excellence in presentation and scholarship’ and provide content of significance in their field of study. Out of the thousands of titles reviewed by Choice in 2014, only 10% were celebrated as Outstanding Academic Titles.

Decolonizing social workDecolonizing Social Work by Mel Gray, John Coates, Michael Yellow Bird, and Tiani Hetherington features articles written by Indigenous and non-Indigenous social work scholars examining local cultures, beliefs, values, and practices as central to decolonization. Choice notes that the volume is “a sturdy reminder of the vast social justice work still to do in the world.” Through careful amalgamation of the work of the essayists, Gray, Coates, Yellow Bird, and Hetherington interrogate trends, issues, and debates in Indigenous social work theory, practice methods, and education models. Choice compliments the book’s readability and its glossary, and highly recommends it to all academics, libraries, and practitioners.

Ageing ritual and social changeAgeing, Ritual and Social Change by Peter Coleman, Daniela Koleva, and Joanna Bornat explores European changes in religious and secular beliefs and practices related to life passages. “The editors and contributors deserve appreciation for undertaking this challenging comparative project,” writes Choice, calling the collection “A significant multidisciplinary contribution to the literature on aging, religion/ritual, comparative oral history, and social change.” Drawing on fascinating oral histories of older people’s memories in both Eastern and Western Europe, this book presents illuminating views on peoples’ quests for existential meaning in later life. Choice highly recommends Ageing, Ritual and Social Change for upper-division undergraduates and up.

Ashgate research companion to the thirty years warThe final book named an Outstanding Academic Title of 2014 is The Ashgate Research Companion to the Thirty Years’ War by Olaf Asbach and Peter Schröder. A comprehensive and authoritative overview of research on one of the most destructive conflicts in European history, Choice notes that this book “will serve for some time as an essential starting point for research on the origins, conduct, and legacies of the wars and the peace.” By combining the work of key international scholars, this research companion explores the complexities of the conflict using an innovative comparative approach. Choice deems this book “Essential,” recommending it to all upper-division undergraduates and up.

Congratulations to all of the honorees.

For a listing of all of our recent prizewinners, visit www.ashgate.com/prizewinners.  

New series: Sexualities in Society, edited by Helen Hester – call for proposals

Posted by Claire Jarvis, Senior Commissioning Editor

Ashgate Publishing is delighted to announce the launch of a new series: Sexualities in Society. Edited by Helen Hester (Lecturer in Promotional Cultures at Middlesex University, UK and author of Beyond Explicit: Pornography and the Displacement of Sex (SUNY Press, 2014) and co-editor of Fat Sex (Ashgate, 2015), it will offer a dedicated and much-needed space for the very best in interdisciplinary research on sex, sexualities, and twenty-first century society.

Its contemporary focus, methodological inclusivity, and international scope will provide a distinctive vantage point in terms of surveying the social organization of sexuality. It critically addresses numerous aspects of sex and sexuality, from media representations, to embodied sexual practices, to the sometimes controversial issues surrounding consent, sexual fantasy, and identity politics. It represents a critically rigorous, theoretically informed, and genuinely interdisciplinary attempt to interrogate a complex nexus of ideas regarding the ways in which sexualities inform, and are informed by, the broader sociopolitical contexts in which they emerge.

For further information about the series, including details of how to submit a proposal, please email Senior Commissioning Editor for Sociology Claire Jarvis (cjarvis@ashgatepublishing.com).

Gibson Burrell awarded the Joanne Martin Trailblazer Award 2014

Gibson Burrell, Professor at the School of Management at the University of Leicester, was presented with the Joanne Martin Trailblazer award at the recent AOM meeting in Philadelphia. The award is an accolade for exceptional career achievement, and is given by the Organization and Management Theory (OMT) Division of the Academy of Management.

From OMTweb:

“The Joanne Martin Trailblazer Award is presented once every two years. The award recognizes scholars who have taken a leadership role in the field of OMT by opening up new lines of thinking or inquiry. A Trailblazer is a boundary-spanner and a conversation starter, someone who extends and builds the OMT community by shepherding new ideas and new scholarship, often in unconventional ways. Actions that may indicate “trailblazing” behavior include starting up or moving forward a journal or scholarly series, organizing a conference or workshop, and beginning or continuing a conversation about a set of OMT ideas.

The establishment of the award was motivated by the retirement of Joanne Martin. An important part of her legacy is that she has challenged and extended the boundaries of OMT. She was a critical voice in research on culture, and she leveraged her position in an attempt to bring feminism and critical theory into the mainstream of organization theory. Professor Martin encouraged people that wouldn’t have traditionally been considered in the mainstream of organization theory to develop ideas that did not fit into existing theories and has thus broadened the membership of OMT.”

Sociological paradigms and organisational analysisGibson Burrell is Professor of Organisation Theory at Leicester and was Head of the School of Management from 2002-7. He is co-author (with Gareth Morgan) of the classic book Sociological Paradigms and Organisational Analysis.