Sunday, February 3, 2013

Author John B. Thompson

John Brookshire Thompson is an author and a professor of Sociology at the University of Cambridge and a fellow at Jesus College.

According to his staff page at Cambridge he studies contemporary social and political theory; sociology of the media and modern culture; the social organization of the media industries; the social and political impact of information and communication technologies; and the changing forms of political communication. (

Some of his publications include Ideology and Modern Culture: Critical Social Theory in the Era of Mass Communication (1990); Language and Symbolic Power (1991); The Media and Modernity: A Social Theory of the Media (1995) and Political Scandal: Power and Visibility in the Media Age (2000).  Most recently he has written Books in the Digital Age: The Transformation of Academic and Higher Education Publishing in Britain and the United States (2005) and Merchants of Culture (2010).

His two most recent publications are of most interest to this discussion.  Books in the Digital Age addresses the changes in academic publishing in the US and Great Britain from the 1980s-2000s.  Merchants of Culture (which we read an excerpt of) addresses the trade publishing industry in the US and Great Britain. He interviewed hundreds of people from large and small publishing houses in doing research for this book.

Merchants of Culture was generally well received by critics. One criticism I ran across a few times was that the book did not cover every aspect of every type of publishing in minute detail. Thompson refutes these criticisms in “A Reply” by saying that the publishing industry is so vast he could not possibly discuss every scenario possible in the industry (144). Another criticism of the book is made by Oresick (2010) who points out that the book contains only one chapter about e-books and digital publishing (p. 304) which Oresick thinks is insufficient.

I found several book reviews and interviews with the author, which I have included below.

         Department of Sociology:PPSIS Faculty, Academic Profile”, , 2 Feb 2013.  2013.
        “John B. Thompson: Where Is Publishing Headed?: The Future Of Books In 7 Easy Steps”, The Huffington Post, 9 May 2012.

Oresick, Peter. "John B. Thompson: Merchants of Culture: The Publishing Business in the Twenty-First Century." Publishing Research Quarterly 26.4 (2010): 303-4. ABI/INFORM Complete; ProQuest Research Library.

Publishing in the Twenty-First Century: An Interview With John B. Thompson”, Poets and Writers, 1 Mar. 2011.

Thompson, John B. "A Reply." LOGOS: The Journal Of The World Book Community 21.1/2 (2010): 143-147. OmniFile Full Text Mega (H.W. Wilson).

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.