Reader, Writer, Merciless Reviewer and Incurable Romantic
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This is a superb analysis of the intertwined issues of gender, gender roles, and power.
One of the most interesting graduate classes I took at ASU was "Sociology of Everyday Life," for which this was one of the texts.
Sadly, much of our time in class was flat-out ruined by a trio of middle-school teachers who were more interested in chatting (loudly) than in listening to any discussion. They became an informal example of how "ruling relations" affect our everyday lives: Accustomed to being in charge in a classroom, they transferred their sense of authority to our classroom. The professor, being only an adjunct and therefore lacking in authority, hesitated to demand their attention or call them out for their disruptive behavior.
I had no such reticence. I got sick and tired of it one evening (it was a night class) and told them to shut up. They were sooooo insulted! Who was I to tell them to shut up when the professor himself hadn't said anything? Well damn it, I was paying for that class and I wanted to get something out of it beyond hearing their problems with their students.
We were treated to a special Saturday session for which Dorothy Smith and another sociologist were brought in. One of the things I remembered most about her presentation was a diagram showing how texts -- meaning books, magazines, movies, advertisements, etc. -- are never static because they get interpreted by those who consume them. Therefore it's virtually impossible to evaluate any text solely on its own merits without considering the context of both the producer of the text and the consumer.
Needless to say, this applies to the reviewing of books: Regardless what the author may have intended the book to be or to mean or to do, the reader's reaction is an independent and valid context.