This book is the culmination of multifarious studies on political space, time, and affect (not only Thrift but a host of others). The monograph represents a synthesis woven around political theory and space. I don't really want to go into explanations of the analyses contained therein. Instead, I'd like to address the previous reviewer's fascinating comments:
1. Thrift is 59 years old, making him one of the youngest forerunners of the collective "non-representational theory" designation. Most of the "theory" texts presently taught in social sciences/humanities departments everywhere were written by more senior scholars (many unfortunately deceased). Application usually lags behind "theory" by one or two decades.
2. Pierre Bourdieu? Aside from methodology (a big aside, I know), Thrift's work owes more to Merleau-Ponty (Phenomenology of Perception), Foucault, Deleuze, and Serres than Bourdieu. More importantly, this book reflects the influence of Kathleen Stewart more than anyone else...and that is not "old." In fact, that's just about as "new" as one can get. Also a touch of Wolin, eh?
3. The "new age" and "self-help" categories seem to lack concrete definitions in the above review--which engendered skepticism on my part. "Get in touch with nature by meditation?" If the reviewer is writing about affect, then said reviewer should read more on space and perceptions--I'm not sure if perception and behavior is "get in touch with nature by meditation." If not affect, I would venture to guess that the reviewer confused "new age" with the equally vague "postmodern" or "poststructuralist" and "self-help" with "theory for political actors and systems." "New age" is usually associated with spiritual revivalism in music, theology, dance, etc. I do not think any rational human being would classify this work as "new age." If the reviewer meant poststructuralism, the affective turn attempts to transcend the there-is-no-outside-text debate. He or she needs to read more on affect, and then review the book. By the way--why are people tagging "There Will Be Blood" and the new Coen brothers film as "new age"?
4. As for Martin Lindstrom (not exactly the most cited source in the text), the man is COO of British Telecom and the founder of two of the most profitable internet solution companies in the world. Also, the reviewer borrowed the "guru" title from the Chartered Institute of Marketing annoucement. In that context, he's a Fortune 100 entrepeneur and hence "guru" means leader with zealous advocates. What's really fascinating is that the reviewer completely ignores the fact that Thrift provides an analytical framework for facilitating democratic politics in mercantile and industrial capitalist systems. Thus Lindstrom isn't exactly a hero here.
5. Affect attempts to transcend the linguistic turn by incorporating neuroscience and biology into analyses of social interactions, culture, and economy. That is, the study of human social behavior as affected by other human beings, communication, physical constructs, and the environment. Read at least the intro to this book--Nigel Thrift offers a summary. A more cogent critique of space-politics-affect would concentrate on affect and physical science (especially the success or failure of the physical/social science convergence). THAT'S something I'd like to see.
6. If this book is "self-help," then booksellers everywhere should reclassify their history, political science, sociology, and economy sections as "self-help." Most if not all social sciences (and physical sciences) seek to better the present human condition in some manner, regardless of a focus on the present or the past.
I happened upon this review after reading Thrift's book. I've never reviewed anything for Amazon before. I read the initial comments and--quite frankly--grew amazed at the complexity of the arguments. This person demonstrates logical reasoning skills as well as how to obscure key critical signifiers. For example, the "guru" citation (implied as spiritual rather than socioeconomic) provided evidence for the "new age" contention. Either the reviewer inductively constructed his or her arguments from the Lindstrom announcement or deductively searched for a source/tangential evidence that justified his or her position. The signifiers also denote humor/sarcasm which divert attention away from the constitutive mutuality of the assertions. In addition, praise of Thrift's previous work ensures that readers focus on the book (and anyone's positive appraisals thereof) rather than Nigel Thrift. This person obviously knows the power of Amazon, so I'm guessing a younger scholar aiming to diminish Amazon sales or to undermine positive appraisals for whatever motivations. In other words, his or her comments piqued my interest. Fascinating!!!