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.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • 'Englishmen Abroad in the Reign of Henry VIII'. Free lecture by Dr Susan Brigden, Thurs 18 Oct, 6.30pm Europe Hou… ,
    • It 'contains twists and near misses and bit-part players, everything you might expect from a true-crime story'. Ian… ,
    • Oh normally a week or two before the ceremony itself - so mid-November. ,
    • Ian Sansom reviews The Real Lolita: The Kidnapping of Sally Horner and the Novel That Scandalized the World by… ,
    • 'It is hard to think of an economist who could craft such an elegantly readable account of postwar failure as this.… ,
    • Frederick Forsyth reviews The Spy and the Traitor: The Greatest Espionage Story of the Cold War by ,
    • . reviews What We Have Lost: The Dismantling of Great Britain by James Hamilton-Paterson ,