Visual Culture

By Richard Howells

Visual culture is one of those things that seems to get only more relevant in an increasingly visual age. It also helps explain why my and Joachim Negreiros’s Visual Culture has now gone into its third edition with Polity.

When the first edition came out in 2003, … Read More

Simmel

By Thomas Kemple

Georg Simmel’s writings are comparable in importance to those of Marx, Weber and Durkheim. And yet, with the recent completion of the 24 volumes of his collected works we are only just beginning to understand the vastness and variety of his ideas. With an emphasis on the … Read More

Our Psychiatric Future

Our everyday lives are increasingly intertwined with psychiatry and discussions of mental health. Yet the dominant medical discipline of psychiatry remains surrounded by controversy. Is there an ‘epidemic’ of mental ill health in contemporary societies? Is mental distress really an illness like any other, treatable by drugs? Can psychiatrists differentiate … Read More

Artifictional Intelligence

The trouble with artificial intelligence research is that its aim is reproduce the brain not the person. But people aren’t brains. Some critics of artificial intelligence have argued that the body is crucial but this is too narrow a view. To reproduce human intelligence one must understand where human intelligence … Read More

Why global health needs more attention – reflections on writing a book on this topic

In our latest book Global Health: An Introductory Text we have drawn upon a social scientific lens to critically consider this topic area, because we believe that the social determinants of health should be at the forefront of analyses in this area. That is not to say that the physical … Read More

Affinities

Why does a woman who discovers relatives she never knew she had, feel so moved when she recognises a family resemblance with them, and how is it that family resemblances can feel uncanny, or spooky, or even magical? What is happening when someone feels an affinity with a place, or … Read More

Pain: A Sociological Introduction

Whenever I mention that I have written a book on the sociology of pain the most common reaction is “What is the connection between sociology and pain?” This was also the initial reaction of many students whom I taught on pain management programmes and courses, which was one of the … Read More

What is the History of Emotions?

By Barbara H. Rosenwein and Riccardo Cristiani

Aren’t emotions the same now as they have always been? Weren’t they hardwired in us from the Stone Age on? The answer to both questions is a simple No. Psychologists, neuropsychologists, historians, and sociologists are increasingly recognizing the mutability of human emotional life. … Read More

A History of Childhood, 2nd Edition

I welcomed the opportunity to produce a second edition of A History of Childhood for Polity, given that it is now sixteen years since the original first appeared. The new edition retains the aim of writing a wide-ranging introduction to the history of childhood, going back to the early medieval … Read More

Essential Concepts in Sociology, 2nd Edition

Concept development in a discipline like sociology is a process and any attempt to identify that discipline’s ‘essential concepts’ must necessarily be a snapshot taken at a specific moment in time. Creating that snapshot is pretty much what we have tried to do in this book. Of course, it means … Read More