Making Students’ Movements

By Nicholas Jon Crane

Fabio Lanza. Behind the Gate: Inventing Students in Beijing. Columbia University Press, 2010. 320 pp.

The story of a truly political movement is one of dispersed elements that come together in often unexpected and apparently accidental ways, and also, necessarily, of the movement’s distance from and subsequent re-encounter with the State.
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Reassembling Democracy in the Parliament of Things

By Jaime Yard

Bruce Braun and Sarah J. Whatmore, eds. Political Matter: Technoscience, Democracy and Public Life. University of Minnesota Press, 2010.  328 pp.

The ambitious task of this volume, edited by geographers Bruce Braun and Sarah Whatmore, is to bring science and technology studies and political theory into more direct dialogue with each other in order to compose a “more fully materialist theory of politics” (x).
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Smart Homes and Shrunken Visions

By Will Straw

Davin Heckman. A Small World: Smart Houses and the Dream of the Perfect Day. Duke University Press, 2008.

More than anything else, Davin Heckman’s A Small World: Smart Houses and the Dream of the Perfect Day is about the slow disappearance of utopian scenarios concerning everyday life from American culture.
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Something Ordinary

By Ben Highmore

Kathleen Stewart. Ordinary Affects. Duke University Press, 2007.

To name something as ordinary is not without risk. At once the founding act of all that is worthwhile in cultural studies, it also marks the source of all its troubles; the ambiguity of naming culture as ordinary is the stigmata of the burden that cultural studies (often unwittingly and unwillingly) carries.
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