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A Wedding in the Family: Mothers Tell Their Stories of Joy, Conflict and Loss

: Annette Byford

Drawing on her own research as a psychologist and psychotherapist conducted over two years with interviews in real life situations the author provides an insight into the wedding experience from the mother’s point of view and explores the complexities of family relationships that this rite of passage can expose.   The book offers the reader the chance to follow several women from different cultural backgrounds through the time leading up to and beyond their child’s wedding. It is structured around three pivotal stages of the wedding: the announcement of the engagement, the wedding preparations, and the big day itself. The analysis of these interviews forms the main part of the book. It follows the themes emerging from these interviews and explores them placing them in the context of thinking in analytic psychotherapy and family therapy.   The book will not so much help readers to avoid wedding “stress”, but rather help them to make sense of it.   Annette Byford has worked as a psychologist and psychotherapist in private practice for the last 25 years and as a lecturer and supervisor in various settings (university, NHS and the voluntary sector). She is a chartered counselling psychologist and a senior practitioner on the Register of Psychologists specialising in Psychotherapy. Read more…

The Alchemy of Performance Anxiety: Transformation for Artists

: Clare Hogan

With mental health increasingly in the spotlight, this book offers a new perspective on anxiety.  The focus of this book is on the application of psychological alchemical practice to address, explore and examine the nature and cause of anxiety in order to tackle and overcome it. It has never been more relevant to illustrate the reality that scientific, artistic and spiritual understanding, together with practical application, has the capacity to eliminate anxiety and gain personal control, liberation and fulfilment.   The first half of the book identifies the issues to be considered and the second half explains and illustrates the alchemical practices with which to approach them.  While the book puts a slight emphasis on musical performance, it is made clear at the outset that performance concerns everyone and the contents, therefore, apply universally. Music is simply a very clear example.   The book is designed as a personal development book rather than a scholarly work and, although it is relevant to all ages (depending on timing), it was written with 18 – 30 year olds being the main inspiration through apparent and ever increasing necessity.     It is a source book that can be dipped into anywhere or launch further investigation into any of the various disciplines and practices covered. Alchemy has the capacity to bind it all together and the alchemy of performance can become a way of life for anyone.   Clare Hogan teaches at the University of Salford at Masters’ and undergraduate level.  Her subject is primarily the Psychology of Performance.  She also counsels students with anxiety issues and teaches individual vocal technique. Read more…

Dads Don’t Babysit: Towards Equal Parenting

  By turns informative and irreverent this book takes a new approach to tackling gender inequality in the home and at work, focusing on dads being entitled to a bigger role in parenting. It presents the barriers men face to being active dads – from sexist security guards to Tory MPs and even Homer Simpson –  and, crucially, it outlines how to tackle them for the good of men, women and children.   In Dads Don’t Babysit two dads outline some of the biggest problems facing families that want dad to get his turn at raising the kids, and offer a range of solutions in a manifesto for parents and policy makers to consider and hopefully adopt. The book tackles topics such as the gender pay gap, lack of a strong parental leave system in the UK, the financial penalties of taking time off to look after children and the limiting expectations parents find colleagues, relatives and the media have on mums and dads.   The authors draw on their own experience of parenting and that of others.  Interviews are backed up by extensive research so that the book presents these important issues in an accessible, personal and at times light-hearted way that the apolitical reader will be able to relate to.  There is a lively and growing argument about men’s role in the 21st century and this book offers a unique perspective, giving a feminist argument by men offering solutions to benefit everyone.     David Freed is a successful blogger and his website on shared parenting receives thousands of hits per week.  He works part-time as a civil servant, a job he returned to after taking six months parental leave.   James Millar has worked as a journalist for twenty years.  He co-authored The Gender Agenda  (published in 2017) which was based on a popular twitter account @GenderDiary. Read more…

Legal Intimidation

: Donson, Fiona.

SLAPPS (strategic lawsuits against public participation), well known in the United States of America, are on the increase in the United Kingdom. SLAPPS are court actions taken by powerful or wealthy individuals or organizations against ordinary people who seek to express their views and to take part in the decision-making processes which affect their lives. Their effect is meant to “chill” through legal intimidation – to stop the critics and end the debates. A steady growth of SLAPPS has occurred where government and business see their interests being threatened by those who dare to rock the boat. The court case becomes a weapon in a larger political war, tying people up in court rooms, sapping their energy and money, carrying the fear of severe legal sanction. In this way the law is used not to protect a valid legal claim but rather to frighten and silence those who are bold enough to criticize, question and speak out. Looking at various high-profile cases the author, Fiona Donson, considers both the theory and practice of attacks upon free speech in a modern democracy. In the new era of human rights in the United Kingdom the author poses important questions about what the use of such legal actions tells us about the health of our democracy at the turn of the millennium. Read more…

Anti-racist Science Teaching

: Gill, Dawn, Levidow, Lev.

An important contribution by Dawn Gill and Les Levidow to the topical debate on multi-cultural education. The papers extend from general issues about science, nature and race to practical teaching guides and suggested projects, and offer proposals for an anti-racist curriculum. “This book should be essential reading for all science teachers who are concerned to place their role in a wider social context.” New Scientist “This is an extremely informative book which should be read by everyone involved in science education. It shatters the myth that science is objective knowledge by analysing how racism permeates science and science teaching. Read more…

Sodom and Gomorrah: On the Everyday Reality and Persecution of Homosexuals in the Middle Ages

: Hergemoller, Bernd-Ulrich.

Bernd-Ulrich Hergemoller provides an account of the lives, suffering and everyday reality of homosexual men in Europe between AD 500 and AD 1500. The author begins by tracing the development of criminal law from the Romans to the beginnings of modern Europe, and goes on to explore the differences and similarities in approaches towards homosexuality in past cultures. Legal cases in Germany and Italy are reviewed and the first English language translation of 15th century documents relating to same-sex trials in Cologne provide insight into prevailing attitudes. Read more…

Techno-sexual Landscapes

: Cleminson, Richard; Gordo-Lopez, Angel.

At first sight, to ask how sex has been influenced by technology over time may appear to be a perplexing question. There is no doubt about the current importance of the new technologies of reproduction, sex-change operations, and the passion that electronic chat-rooms incite. However, it might be argued, this is surely a recent phenomenon and the past has little to reveal about “techno-sexual” relations. Richard Cleminson and Angel Gordo-Lopez’s book draws on a number of examples of “productive” relations between technology and sexuality: the technical and sexual organisation of medieval monasteries, the moral and erotic transgression afforded by the early wind and water mill, and the romances forged in the context of the train. The authors focus on three main eras: the medieval period (around the 11th century with its monasteries as sites of technical innovation and heretical religious movements on the borders of Christianity); early modernity (from the time of the European “discoveries” and the creation of “others” including the natives of South America and the witch); and the present and the technologically-mediated future. What might be the connection between mills, navigation techniques and trains and the realm of sexuality? How does the government of sexuality and socio-economic relations in the 16th century across distances find resonance in cyberspace? Once the question of technology and sexuality has been placed in a long-term perspective, the reader is invited to reconsider relations often brushed aside, or devalued for their connection with “low”, popular or quotidian culture, practices and spaces. Acknowledging the uncomfortable social fact of “techno-sexuality” as a quotidian experience allows us to recuperate a range of often discounted or forgotten social actors, movements and landscapes. Read more…

The Body as Mirror of the World

: Chasseguet-Smirgel, J.

Is today’s thinking conditioned by body-mind dualism? A rebellion against the biological order seems to have silently infiltrated our world view. Suicide bombers appear to share the fascination with destruction, of writers such as Mishima, Pasolini and Foucault. A liberation from the body to re-establish a – possibly mystical – union of soul and cosmos and an assertion of the mind’s omnipotence appear to be common features of forms of behaviour that seem to be taken for granted in contemporary thought. Is the new misogyny, which rejects motherhood in the name of feminism, contributing in any way to these trends? This review of our society by a woman psychoanalyst – a non-medic and graduate of the Institut d’Etudes Politiques in Paris – presents a sharp and rigorous analysis of the strange and violent mechanisms that are erupting in the world today. Read more…

Playing the Love Market: Dating, Romance and the Real World

: Cameron, Samuel; Collins, Alan

This book directly addresses the question of what is causing people, regardless of their sexuality to use more commercial means of searching for potential partners. The authors, Samuel Cameron and Alan Collins do this in a straightforward, realistic but generally neglected view by psychologists, sociologists, and other personal relationship professionals. They investigate the effectiveness and personal cost of searching for partners by different methods; how people trade off age, physical attractiveness and financial resources against each other; the risks of different dating methods; and the differences in the market for same-sex dating partners. While existing studies and guides to the dating process typically bypass the simple, inescapable and essential features of the way human beings proceed to instigate and assess relationships, the bottom line is that there is a market for potential relationship partners, in which individuals have to function to acquire dates. Like any market there is a supply and demand for the ‘good’ in question. This book shows how simple economic reasoning can explain many of the characteristics of the market for dating partners, and also suggest strategies for effective participation in this market. Read more…

AIDS, Africa and Racism

: Chirimuuta, Rosalind; Chirimuuta

This book demonstrates the racist preconceptions that have guided the collection of evidence on AIDS in Africa and is a response to the alleged African origins of AIDS. The authors, Richard  & Rosalind Chirimuuta have added a substantial postscript for this edition. In it they point out that even though several Western researchers have withdrawn some of their evidence and specific claims, they still attempt to substantiate racist hypotheses. Read more…