Summer reading list: NZJES books blog 2022

Dr Daniel Couch, The University of Sydney
New Zealand Journal of Educational Studies Associate and Book Review Editor

This blog revisits the seven books reviewed in 2022 in the New Zealand Journal of Educational Studies (NZARE’s official journal, published by Springer Education). Below, this blog adapts short sections of each published review and links to both the full reviews themselves as well as distributors for these titles. As the third iteration of this blog (following the 2020 and 2021 iterations), we find ourselves engaged in a tradition!

Book reviews are a highly important part of academic engagement. Reviews of new books are published in each issue of NZJES. The reviews published in 2022 make an important contribution to the broader educational discourse as they engage with books that either arise from, or have significance for, Aotearoa New Zealand’s educational landscape.

The titles on this list make for great summer reading, or might just spark gift ideas for the season ahead!

Education, Globalisation, and the State: Essays in Honour of Roger Dale

Xavier Bonal, Eve Coxon, Mario Novelli, and Antoni Verger (Eds.)
Peter Lang, New York, 2021 (RRP US$104.45)

The truth in Dale’s (1989) theorisation is the relations between state and education within a capitalist economy, formulated through what is termed by Michael Apple (chapter 2) as Dale’s “structural sensibilities”. According to many of the contributors to this collection Dale’s explanation of the politics of education is a convincing account of socio-political structure as it relates to education, in this case the organising principles of a state education system. Dale’s early state theory was an extension of the new sociology of education into what Jenny Ozga (1987) termed policy sociology. He was also at the heart of a turn in policy sociology in the late twentieth and early twenty-first century towards globalisation. Intensification of global capitalism required an accommodation to state theory to include globalising effects on state power. How does the state respond when capital moves irrespective of state boundaries and is relocated in the hands of a global elite? While predictions of disintegration of state through the expansion of global power proved to be oversold (Bonal, Chapter 4), state education systems have changed because of globalisation and the exercise of global soft power. The state’s ways to legitimise a capitalist system also changed with supranational influences manifest in national education policy, and new contradictions emerging between global and local interests.

Adapted from a review by Ruth Boyask, published in NZJES 57(1).

Education Studies in Aotearoa: Key Disciplines and Emerging Directions

Annelies Kemp (Ed.)
NZCER Press, Wellington, 2019. (RRP $65.00)

In his introduction to this edited collection John Freeman-Moir explains that Education Studies in Aotearoa has two aims: firstly to introduce teacher education students to core disciplines and principal areas of educational studies and secondly to serve as “a resource for professionals, teachers, and administrators interested in updating their knowledge of educational research in Aotearoa New Zealand” (p. 1). With regard to the first of its two stated aims, this book succeeds in providing an introduction to the fields of philosophy, history, sociology and psychology of education as well as curriculum studies. Part Two of the book focuses on ‘emerging directions’ in education in Aotearoa. An interesting array of ‘directions’ are showcased across the eight different chapters in this second section. The paralleling of Māori and western perspectives in the chapter ‘The Role of Emotions in Education in Aotearoa’ by Veronica O’Toole and Rachel Martin provides a Tiriti o Waitangi mode of analysis, framed in the context of the momentous impacts of the 2011 Christchurch earthquakes. This contemporary trauma overlays the historical grief and trauma resulting from the inestimable losses to iwi Māori of land, language, and identity imposed through colonisation, and which continue to impact Māori wellbeing.

Adapted from a review by Jenny Ritchie, published in NZJES 57(1).

Māori Philosophy: Indigenous Thinking from Aotearoa

Georgina Stewart
Bloomsbury Academic, London, 2021. (RRP $22.45)

Georgina Tuari Stewart’s publication of Māori Philosophy: Indigenous Thinking from Aotearoa is a new contribution in the kaupapa Māori space, advancing her scholarship to a global audience. Māori Philosophy is published within Bloomsbury’s World Philosophies series, which aims to provide close readings of specific unexplored pathways in the study of world philosophies. In this important contribution to the series, Stewart “stakes a claim for Māori philosophy” (p. 6), particularly from an educational philosophy perspective. The book is intended to be an introductory text to Māori thinking that is both “generative and teacherly” (p. 12), working the intercultural space between Māori and Pākehā (non-Māori) in the way it engages with the audience. Māori Philosophy is clearly structured to lead a reader through understanding of Māori ways of thinking and knowing. Stewart shares much of herself in doing this, explaining aspects of her background that both qualify her writing and show how the ideas apply to personal experience. At the same time, she shows how her writing connects with other Māori writers such as Moana Jackson, Linda Tuhiwai Smith, Graham Hingangaroa Smith, Rev. Māori Marsden and Te Ahukaramū Charles Royal. It is evident that she is seeking to work interculturally throughout the book, explaining Māori systems of thought with a wide audience in mind. Her writing in effect both asserts the importance of Māori knowledge and the relationality of that knowledge at the same time.

Adapted from a review by Carol Neill, published in NZJES 57(1).

The History of a Riot

Jared Davidson
Bridget Williams Books, Wellington, 2021 (RRP $17.99)

Jared Davidson gives one answer to this question with his most recent book, The History of a Riot, reminding us that struggle by organised workers is fundamental to our history as a country. The History of a Riot tells the story of men and women who were lured to Nelson from Britain by the rapacious New Zealand Company, who, having promised them decent work and financial stability, delivered them largely into poverty and toil. Throughout 1843, the work gangs of Nelson ‘administered oaths’ and organised into ‘secret combinations’, using strikes and go-slows to resist pay cuts and attempts to break their unity. This rising conflict culminated in the titular riot of 26th August, in which 80-odd armed labourers extracted their wages from Company officials threatening to withhold them. Through this action and others, these workers were able to resist the more callous excesses of early colonial capitalism.

Adapted from a review by Sam Oldham, published in NZJES 57(1).

Jean-François Lyotard: Pedagogies of Affect

Kirsten Locke
Springer Nature, Switzerland, 2022. (RRP $84.83)

Kirsten Locke is well aware of the complexity and importance of her subject, which is ably addressed in this short book: Jean-François Lyotard: Pedagogies of Affect. Published in the SpringerBriefs on Key Thinkers in Education series, which aims to provide ‘a concise introduction to the life and work of a key thinker in education’ (ii), it fulfils and exceeds this remit whilst retaining the svelteness demanded of the format. It is gratifying to see a renewed interest in the work of Lyotard within education studies, one which, as Locke herself details, has too often been overshadowed by an emphasis on The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge (1984). As a volume which deals explicitly with issues of knowledge, its transfer and transformation within a changing post-industrial world, its relevance doubtless remains but the implications of Lyotard’s work for the area extend beyond this single ‘report’. Locke identifies a particular pedagogical approach in Lyotard’s activities and is able to trace a thread through seemingly disparate aspects of Lyotard’s life and work. She draws not only on his philosophy and teaching but also on his early political activism, his engagement with art, and later writings on affect and the sublime. This thread, followed through five chapters, is an openness to possibilities and a resistance to overdetermination, to the insistence on efficiency, to gain time, to evade or eradicate uncertainty. It is the same openness with which this review began, the voluntary acts of communication which have a potential to lead elsewhere than to that which is already determined. An openness which is at the heart of Locke’s book in chapter three ‘Infancy and Childhood in Education: Lyotard’s Pedagogies of the Possible’, where a listening to that which cannot be directly voiced is key.

Adapted from a review by Kiff Bamford, published in NZJES 57(2).

Strategies for Writing a Thesis by Publication in the Social Sciences and Humanities

Lynn P. Nygaard and Kristin Solli
Routledge, Abingdon, 2021. (RRP $45.00)

Strategies for Writing a Thesis by Publication in the Social Sciences and Humanities (Nygaard & Solli, 2021) fills a gap in the current doctoral education literature by discussing how this thesis genre may work in social science and humanities contexts. The authors are from Scandinavia, where the thesis by publication “has eclipsed the monograph as the most common type of thesis in the social sciences, and disciplines in the humanities are rapidly following suit” (p. 13). The book is part of Routledge’s excellent Insider Guides to Success in Academia series (edited by Pat Thomson and Helen Kara). As such, Strategies for Writing a Thesis by Publication in the Social Sciences and Humanities offers the insightful, practical, timely, and research-informed advice in a friendly, conversational style that this series is known for. The ‘pocket-sized’ paperback format supports an affordable price point for the postgraduate student audience. Nygaard and Solli begin their book by discussing what a thesis by publication—or a “doctorate in pieces” (p. 1)—actually involves. In the authors’ words (pp. 5–6):

Putting [the publications] together into a whole means more than stapling them together with a cover letter saying, ‘Here are my articles. Hope you like them! Looking forward to being a doctor 😊’.

Adapted from a review by Katrina McChesney, published in NZJES 57(2).

The Origins of You: How Childhood Shapes Later Life

Jay Belsky, Avshalom Caspi, Terrie E. Moffitt, Richie Poulton
Harvard University Press, 2020. (RRP US$35.00)

With over 1,200 publications on the findings of the Dunedin Study—several appearing in peer-reviewed journals—this book accomplishes in its purpose what many others have not: sharing the study’s results in a way that is tangible, meaningful and enjoyable in a reference-book format. The text certainly remains true to explaining the findings and the main positive impacts that the researchers discuss in their 2015 article in Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology. Here are just a few of the ways in which they do this: First, the book explains the value of multidisciplinary data and the importance of longitudinal research, which can build on papers previously published (Poulton, Moffit, & Silva, 2015). Second, The Origins of You explains how the researchers handled such current issues as the quality of preschool programs, and those science has been tackling for generations, such as “nature-nurture interplay” (Poulton, Moffit, & Silva, 2015). Third, the work is an advocate for theory, research, practice, and policy by being sensitive to the Dunedin Study’s strengths, i.e., “half a lifetime of detailed socio-behavioral data allowing for a holistic view of physical health and wellbeing” (Poulton, Moffit, & Silva, 2015, p. 4).

Adapted from a review by Laura Petillo, published in NZJES 57(2).

Concluding thoughts

The reviews published in NZJES continue to advance educational conversations and introduce new books to Aotearoa New Zealand’s education community. They also facilitate connections to new works and new ideas, and take seriously the scholarship and rigour required to go beyond a traditional article’s length. New book authors and editors are invited to get in touch with book me (daniel.couch@sydney.edu.au) to see if NZJES is a suitable place for a review.


The New Zealand Journal of Educational Studies is the official journal of the New Zealand Association for Research in Education. Published twice yearly by Springer Education, the journal presents original reports, critical reviews of educational theory and policy, discussions and commentaries on conceptual and methodological issues in educational research, reports on research in progress, and book reviews. Its multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary approach aims to nurture and promote educational research. The journal is Edited by Professors Georgina Stewart and Nesta Devine of Auckland University of Technology. Dr Daniel Couch, of the University of Sydney, is Associate and Book Reviews Editor.

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