Policy Press

Publishing with Purpose

The Imposter as Social Theory

Thinking with Gatecrashers, Cheats and Charlatans

Edited by Steve Woolgar, Else Vogel, David Moats and Claes-Fredrik Helgesson

Published

May 26, 2021

Page count

350 pages

ISBN

978-1529213072

Dimensions

234 x 156 mm

Imprint

Bristol University Press

Published

May 26, 2021

Page count

350 pages

ISBN

978-1529213096

Dimensions

Imprint

Bristol University Press
GBP 26.99 GBP 21.59You save GBP 5.40 (20%)
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    The Imposter as Social Theory

    In the media

    'Imposters and Society' in The Measure of Everyday Life podcast

    The figure of the imposter can stir complicated emotions, from intrigue to suspicion and fear. But what insights can these troublesome figures provide into the social relations and cultural forms from which they emerge?

    Edited by leading scholars in the field, this volume explores the question through a diverse range of empirical cases, including magicians, spirit possession, fake Instagram followers, fake art and fraudulent scientists.

    Proposing ‘thinking with imposters’ as a valuable new tool of analysis in the social sciences and humanities, this revolutionary book shows how the figure of the imposter can help upend social theory.

    "This book is for anybody bored to tears with the present, repetitive and dull, mainstream social theory." Barbara Czarniawska, University of Gothenburg

    "This sparkling book on imposters is the real thing. In a world of fakes, masks and ghosts, the authors show that the action of the imposter is not a performance or a trick but an experiment, a speculation offered to test the limits of appearance in social life." Arjun Appadurai, New York University

    "A comprehensive picture of imposters, marking a new concept and new departure. An astonishing range of examples which are important, unexpected, and clever." Stephen Turner, University of South Florida

    "Offering the imposter as a figure for social theorizing in a time of post-truth is both bold and acute. An urgent call for rethinking and re-ordering reality." Amade M’charek, University of Amsterdam

    "One of the most comprehensive endeavours to examine the figure of the imposter in social theory. Empirically rich case studies which will fundamentally reorient how scholars approach the question of deception and the nature of social order and disorder." Gabriella Coleman, McGill University

    “Kipling said, ‘success and failure are both imposters'. Indeed, in these essays we see that imposture is socially regenerative. Every politician and scholar should read this original and insightful work.” Lawrence Rosen, Princeton and Columbia Universities

    "The imposter is the masterpiece of existence. An inventive upending of sociological theory, the like of which I would never have expected to see in my lifetime." Emile Durkheim, University of Paris, Sorbonne

    Steve Woolgar is Professor of Science and Technology Studies at Linköping University and Professor of Marketing Emeritus at Oxford University.

    Else Vogel is Assistant Professor at University of Amsterdam.

    David Moats is Assistant Professor at Linköping University.

    Claes-Fredrik Helgesson is Professor and Research Director at the Centre for Integrated Research on Culture and Society (CIRCUS) at Uppsala University.

    Thinking With Imposters: The Imposter As Analytic ~ Else Vogel, David Moats, Steve Woolgar and Claes-Fredrik Helgesson

    The Desire to Believe and Belong: Wannabes and Their Audience in a North American Cultural Context ~ Caroline Rosenthal

    A Menagerie of Imposters and Truth-Tellers: Diederik Stapel and the Crisis in Psychology ~ Maarten Derksen

    Learning From Fakes: A Relational Approach ~ Catelijne Coopmans

    Imitations of Celebrity ~ Mandy Merck

    Natural Imposters?: A Cuckoos View of Social Relations ~ Martin Abbott and Daniel Large

    Conjuring Imposters: The Extraordinary Illusions of Mundanity ~ Brian Rappert

    States of Imposture: Scroungerphobia and the Choreography of Suspicion~ James Kaufmann

    The Face of ‘The Other’: Biometric Facial Recognition, Imposters, and the Art of Outplaying Them ~ Kristina Grünenberg

    Faking Spirit Possession: Creating ‘Epistemic Murk’ in Bahian Candomblé ~ Mattijs van de Port

    The Guerrilla’s ID Card: Flatland Against Fatland in Colombia ~ Olga Restrepo Forero and Malcolm Ashmore

    Good Enough Imposters: The Market for Instagram Followers in Indonesia and Beyond ~ Johan Lindquist

    Thinking Beyond the Imposter: Gatecrashing Un/Welcoming Borders ~ Fredy Mora-Gamez

    Postscript: Thinking With Imposters – What Were They Thinking? ~ Agnes, Forrest Carter, Civet Coffee Bean, Cuckoo, Iansá and Oxum, Sarah Jane, Han Van Meegeren, David Rosenhahn, Diederik Stapel and Jorge Enrique Briceño Suárez