11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 12 May 2010
Jo Turney's book, The Culture of Knitting, is an example of an emerging type of academic writing, that builds bridges between Critical Theory and other disciplines. Some call this type of writing, critical journalism, as it involves a reporting-back back from the Academy to audiences outside and/or uneasy within their institutional relationship. This unease is commonly situated around terminology and often takes the form of a suspicion of concepts and (seemingly) arbitrary methodologies. In this sense, Jo Turney's book is not speaking to the converted, but offering - as I see it - a reason for more people to get involved. My understanding of the book's intention is to offer a starting point for enquiry, it does not aspire to be conclusive; it adopts a convivial mode and is inclusively generous with its case studies and examples. As such, inevitably, it will be submitted to the vagaries of a wide range of audiences and diverse expectations, and will probably experience a choppy ride. It is functioning in the market place, after all, not simply within the walls of a secure academic unit or discipline.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 27 October 2013
If you've read the standard texts describing the history of knitting and feel ready for something more, 'The Culture of Knitting' may be a good place to go next. Joanne Turney takes an academic but very accessible look at the sociological and cultural contexts of knitting and knitwear in the last 50 years. I found this a fascinating read, drawing together some philosophical views of the meaning and significance of different trends in knitwear. Turney is very grounded, aware that some of the conclusions she draws could be rather tenuous were it not for the evidence (and interpretation) that she presents to make her narrative both enlightening and convincing. The scope of the book stops just short of the new wave of popularist knitting that swept first America and is now invading Britain (for how long?) - perhaps the rise and fall of the latest woolly enthusiasm will provide material for her next study.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 5 April 2011
Brilliant! Need I say more? With Turneys amazing writing style with intelligence and wit, the culture of Knitting offers an amazing insight with first hand analysis and personal experience. I was daunted by how in depth the booked looked but I found it easy to read and recommend to anyone with an interest in Fashion and obviously knitting, along with the social and consumption side of the industry.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 29 June 2010
I enjoyed reading the book, it contains a great deal of history on the craft and politics that surround knitting. I am not a knitter, though I have been surrounded by knitters my whole life, this book added to my cultural and socio-political knowledge of knitters and knitting, from a diverse range of perspectives. It contains a lot of information, and much like knitting itself, some of the links between segments seem fractured but in fact make up a decent whole.
17 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on 5 April 2010
This book reads like a badly-written doctoral thesis hurriedly turned into a book. There may well be some fascinating information about knitting and prescient cultural analysis buried in there somewhere, but the hideous prose makes it impossible to find. Just trying to read it gives me a headache. If you are an academic yourself and used to reading students' writing, tuning out the contorted attempts to sound intellectual and recognising their insights, you might be able to get on with this book, otherwise, I really can't recommend it. It got a great review in the TLS, which was why I bought it, but I am greatly disappointed. I'd give it to a friend but don't really want to inflict it on them either.