Join the Club: How Peer Pressure Can Transform the World by Tina Rosenberg
|Join the Club: How Peer Pressure Can Transform the World by Tina Rosenberg|
|Genre: Politics and Society|
|Reviewer: Robert James|
|Summary: Sprawling but extremely engaging and readable account of a variety of situations in which peer pressure has been used for good. A very interesting book indeed.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 400||Date: August 2011|
|Publisher: Icon Books|
|External links: Author's website|
Teenagers in South Carolina have become involved in the anti-smoking movement, passing out information encouraging their peers to educate themselves about the ways big tobacco companies try to get them hooked. There are youngsters in South Africa who’ve refused to have sex without a condom because of the danger of HIV and AIDS. Minority students in Texas have challenged data going back years by succeeding at calculus where traditionally students of their race have struggled. Why? Because other people have done the same thing, and they want to fit in.
Pulitzer Prize winning author Tina Rosenberg weaves these, and many other accounts, into a fascinating study of how peer pressure – so often thought of as a bad thing – can be used to persuade people to make good choices. She looks at the loveLife programme set up in South Africa to educate youngsters there about safe sex, the Rage Against The Haze movement in South Carolina which tries to stop teens from smoking, and many more similar groups. I think perhaps the most impressive aspect of an excellent book is that there are so many different examples looked at, spanning across continents, and yet it never feels like the author is losing her focus. She has a clear message to get across and everything she writes is relevant and insightful.
In her final chapter, Rosenberg looks at how we can use the ‘social cure’, as she’s termed this positive peer pressure, to help people in other situations, looking at Islamic extremists in England and corruption in Mexico and how both these problems could be addressed. Over-optimistic? Very possibly, but it’s refreshing to read a book which is looking to the future and which contains so many examples of positive things going on.
Very high recommendation which has got me really interested in taking a look at Rosenberg’s other books and articles.
I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.
Further reading suggestion: The impressive Aid and Other Dirty Business: How Good Intentions Have Failed the World's Poor by Giles Bolton will be of particular interest to those who were fascinated by the African parts of this book. For another inspirational book focusing on the positives in today's society, On Guerrilla Gardening: A Handbook for Gardening Without Boundaries by Richard Reynolds is both charming and thought-provoking.
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