Justin Marozzi

Angels in Disguise

The Third Sex: Kathoey - Thailand's Ladyboys

By

Souvenir Press 181pp £16.99 order from our bookshop

Not far into this book, I recalled with a shudder the linguistic assault of studying political science in America. To this day I am haunted by the title of a presentation I was asked to give my fellow postgraduates. It was called ‘Spatio-temporal Parameters and the Postulates of Orientational Substitutability’. Try saying something meaningful about that. This dreadful jargon, I ventured, was perhaps the most eloquent proof of the intellectual bankruptcy of political science as a discipline. The professor and students looked at me uncomprehendingly. But then, what could they expect from the Brits?

From political science, it was only a quick ride across campus to social science, another relatively new kid on the block. Like its cousin it has felt the need to invent a whole new language – frequently of the most impenetrable kind – to give it a veneer of academic credibility.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • 'Neville never shed his sense of being the junior, and perhaps least-deserving Chamberlain.' From the archive, Mic… ,
    • 'The erecting and immediate destruction of a series of straw men rather detracts from what is for the most part an… ,
    • RT : A magnificent demolition job on this "acid laced tirade...unpleasantly self-obsessed...self pitying polemic...book… ,
    • 'Seventy years on, the time we have left to gather such first-hand testimony is running out.' John Keay on the sig… ,
    • The author 'seethes with contemptuous indignation at the shiny junk that an unregulated construction industry dumps… ,
    • 'The physical courage he demonstrated as a young man [...] gave way to intellectual power; radical thought, gifted… ,
    • 'While Jane Austen didn’t perhaps achieve the full recognition that she deserved in her lifetime, even then she out… ,