Steven Fielding

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[Cross-posted from New Books in Critical Theory] To understand contemporary politics we must understand how it is represented in fiction. This is the main argument in A State of Play: British Politics on Screen, Stage and Page, from Anthony Trollope to The Thick of It (Bloomsbury Academic, 2014) a new book by Steven FieldingProfessor of Politics at the University of Nottingham. The book explores how British politics has been represented in fiction from the late Victorian era through to the present. The book identifies a fascinating set of core themes, including how the political class has been defended and attacked, how the idea of populism has developed over time, along with the changing role of women in British political fiction. A State of Play does not over-claim, stressing that although an understanding of fiction is essential to understanding politics, we still don’t know the exact relationship between people’s political participation and political fiction. However, it does make a convincing case that any understanding of the British political system will be insufficient without understanding how it has been imagined and depicted. Indeed, as later chapters show, the mode of depiction itself has become an important territory for explaining British political culture. The book contains a huge range of examples, from the more well known television series, such as Yes, Minister and The Thick of It, through to obscure and perhaps forgotten books such as The Mistress of Downing StreetOverall it will be of interest to academics and the public alike.

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Beth DriscollThe New Literary Middlebrow: Readers and Tastemaking in the Twenty-First Century

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[Cross-posted from New Books in Critical Theory] It is a cliche to suggest we are what we read, but it is also an important insight. In The New Literary Middlebrow: Readers and Tastemaking in the Twenty First Century (Palgrave-MacMillan, 2014), Beth Driscoll, from University of Melbourne, extends and critiques the work of Pierre Bourdieu to account for modern literary tastes [...]

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[Cross-posted from New Books in Technology] Failure by government agencies to share information has had disastrous results globally. From the inability to prevent terrorist attacks, like the 9-11 attacks in New York City, Washington D.C., and Pennsylvania, to the ill-equipped and ill-fated responses to disasters like the nuclear meltdown at Fukushima, and Hurricane Katrina, a common [...]

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[Cross-posted from New Books in World Affairs] In the early days of the Internet, optimists saw the future as highly connected, where voices from across the globe would mingle and learn from one another as never before.  However, as Ethan Zuckerman argues in Rewire: Digital Cosmopolitans in the Age of Connection (Norton, 2013), just because a connection is possible does not [...]

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[Cross-posted from New Books in Technology] There is no doubt that innovations in technology have had, and are having, a significant impact on society, changing the way we live, work, and play. But the changes that we are seeing are far from novel. In fact, most are a continuation of changes to society and societal structure [...]

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