Extended review: The paradoxical Professor Giddens



Publication Details

Castree, N. (2010). Extended review: The paradoxical Professor Giddens. The Sociological Review, 58 (1), 156-162.


Book review: The Politics of Climate Change Anthony Giddens, Cambridge, Polity Press, 2009, £55.00, paperback, £12.99, 256pp.

The Politics of Climate Change – his latest book – tells far us more about Anthony Giddens that it does the topic described in its title. Having the capacity to say something is not the same thing as having something worth saying. The alarm bells sound as early as page two, where the ‘Giddens paradox’ is defined: ‘It states that, since the dangers posed by global warming aren’t tangible, immediate or visible in the course of day-to-day life – however awesome they may appear – many will sit on their hands and do nothing concrete about them. Yet waiting until they become visible and acute before being stirred to serious action will, by definition, be too late’.To coin a neologism in one’s own name takes a lot of chutzpah at the best of times; to do it when such a well-known and simple idea is being described indicates a sheer lack of judgement. In this essay I want to suggest that The Politics of Climate Change bespeaks a man possessed of the desire and the means to make his views known – yet whose arguments will, alas, have little impact on their intended audience such is their inadequacy.

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Link to publisher version (DOI)