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

    • From the Archive: Martyn Bedford on Ian McEwan's 'Atonement' ,
    • In 'Silenced Voices' reports the ongoing story of the human rights lawyer, Nasrin Sotoudeh, who has been… ,
    • The mystery of Jack the Ripper's identity has long been agonised over. But what do we know about his victims?… ,
    • A piece of Literary Review history from way back in 1983: John Haffenden talks to the great Iris Murdoch. ,
    • Britain’s only travelling lit fest, the Garden Museum Literary Festival is heading to Houghton Hall, Norfolk, for a… ,
    • 'The 19th-century German sage is not my idea of a pleasant travel companion' goes hiking with Friedr… ,
    • If you want ideas about what to read next, sign up to our free email newsletter, and get book reviews, archive mate… ,