Two new books from recent PhD. graduates!

16 Oct

We are delighted to congratulate Dr. Elaine Desmond and Dr. Amin Sharifi Isaloo on their recent publications! Both Elaine and Amin graduated from UCC in 2015.




Elaine's book 'Legitimation in a World at Risk: The Case of Genetically Modified Crops in India' is a sociological analysis of the controversy surrounding GM crops in Telangana, India. There is much debate as to whether GM technology holds the key to improving the welfare of poor farmers globally or serves primarily to increase the profits of multinational corporations while enhancing cultivator risk. Desmond’s study is located in the economically vulnerable and politically volatile district of Warangal in Telangana, a context associated with high numbers of farmer suicides.  Uniquely foregrounding the perspectives of cultivators and the landless, Desmond explores how GM crops are variously legitimated and delegitimated in three Warangal villages by those whose livelihoods are at stake in the debate, but whose voices are rarely heard within it. This book will be significant for those with an interest in GM crops, power and knowledge and their relation to understandings of development, democracy and risk management worldwide.

Amin's book 'Power, Legitimacy and the Public Sphere: The Iranian Ta’ziyeh Theatre Ritual (Contemporary Liminality)' is a ground-breaking study of political transformations in non-Western societies, this book applies anthropological, sociological and political concepts to the recent history of Iran to explore the role played by a ritual theatrical performance (Ta’ziyeh) and its symbols on the construction of public mobilisations. With particular attention to three formative phases – the 1978–79 Islamic Revolution, the 1980–88 Iran–Iraq War, and the 2009 Green Movement – the author concentrates on the relations between symbols of the ritual performance and the public sphere to shed light on the ways in which the symbols of Ta’ziyeh were used to claim political legitimacy. Thus, the book elucidates how symbols and images of a ritual performance can be utilised by ‘tricksters’, such as political actors and fanatical religious leaders, to take advantage of the prolongation of a state of transition within a society, and so manipulate the public in order to mobilise crowds and movements to fulfil their own interests and concerns.

An insightful analysis of political mobilisation explained in terms of a set of interrelated master concepts such as ‘liminality’, ‘trickster’ and ‘schismogenesis’, Power, Legitimacy and the Public Sphere integrates theoretical, empirical and ‘diagnostic’ perspectives in order to investigate and illustrate links between the public sphere and religious and cultural rituals. As such, it will appeal to scholars of sociology, politics and anthropology with interests in social theory, public mobilisations and political transformation