Can climate change by won like the space race? Do owners look like their dogs? Is Lisbon the new Barcelona? Does a woman need a man like a fish needs a bicycle? We live comparatively, through metaphors, models, and metrics we make comparisons every day, but how helpful are they? What truths do the hide and what bullsht do they propagate?
Looking across a dazzling range of situations both familiar and unfamiliar, Bullsht Comparisons is a ground-breaking guide to the role of could-be-true but misleading comparison in modern society, illuminated by examples spanning the globe from Boris Johnson and Winston Churchill, to the FIFA World Footballer of the year, university league tables and Chinese neo-colonialism in Africa.
Challenging us to think critically about the use of comparison through accessible, personal, and often amusing research, Andrew Brooks reveals the uses and abuses of comparisons in a book that isn’t like anything else you have read.
Andrew Brooks is a Senior Lecturer in Development & Environment in the Department of Geography, King’s College, London.
Drawing on extensive fieldwork in southern Africa his early publications examined connections between production, consumption, and waste, as well as the geographies of combined and uneven development. Recently his research has focused on questions of global comparisons as well as the relationships between urban change and the environment. While retaining a deep interest in Africa, his work is increasingly focused on the UK and Portugal.
He is Chair of the Postgraduate Board of Examinations and was an Editor of the Journal of Southern African Studies (2015-19). A first book Clothing Poverty: The Hidden World of Fast Fashion and Second-hand Clothes was published by Zed Books in 2015, with a second edition in 2019 and reprints in Spanish and Japanese. His next book was The End of Development: A Global History of Poverty and Prosperity was also with Zed Books (2017).
His work on international development, and especially the fashion sector, has reached international media including Al Jazeera, BBC News, CNN, The Economist, The Guardian, Le Monde, The New York Times and Newsweek.