A revision of an old favourite, and a study of
Asperger’s, are checked over by Oliver Russell and Martin
Zygmunt Bauman, Blackwell, £14.99, ISBN 0 631 21929 3
First published in 1990, this book has become established as a
sound perspective on a subject that continues to attract large
numbers of students.
This second addition has been almost completely re-written and
led, it is clearly implied in the preface, not by Bauman, but by
one of sociology’s new generations of authors, Tim May. May,
although now working mainly in the philosophical and
research-methods heartlands of sociology, began his academic career
with a doctorial thesis on the probation service; and his
experience of working close to the applied sector has influenced
the choice of additional material on turn-of-the-millennium topics
such as health and fitness, globalisation, risk and intimacy.
The revision works well “as a sociological commentary on matters
that directly inform our daily experiences”. It is thankfully not
awash with bibliographical references – too many social work
academics see the citation of a hundred books and papers as a
substitute for original thought.
“Socialisation never ends in our lives,” say the authors; nor
does sociological thinking, and Bauman and May have produced a new
edition of a book which will serve us well for a second decade.
Martin Davies is editor of The Blackwell Companion to Social
Work and The Blackwell Encyclopaedia of Social Work
Asperger Syndrome and Sensory Issues
Brenda Smith Myles, Katherine Tapscott Cook, Nancy E Miller,
Louann Rinner and Lisa A Robbins,
Jessica Kingsley Publishers,
£13.95, ISBN 0 9672514 8 6
Although it is now over 50 years since Asperger’s syndrome was
first described, it is only relatively recently that serious
attention has been given to understanding the specific cause of the
behaviours which characterise the disorder.
This book, by occupational therapists from the University of
Kansas, outlines a new approach called “sensory integration
theory”, which postulates that behaviours of people with Asperger’s
syndrome are linked to failure in their ability to interpret
sensory inputs. The theory proposes that people with Asperger’s
syndrome have difficulty in processing sensations such as touch,
taste, smell, balance, vision and hearing. As a consequence the
individual presents abnormal behaviours in response to extremes of
sound, smell, taste, and other sensory stimuli.
The authors set out to provide a practical introduction but the
presence of only one case study means that the reader gains little
insight into how the theory can be of real benefit. About a third
of the book comprises lists of tests and other assessments. The
book, written for a US market, is likely to be of little interest
to a UK readership.
Oliver Russell is a consultant psychiatrist