Taylor & Francis Newsroom

, Oxford.

Does Lance Armstrong represent a modern day cultural religion?

Infamous cycling champion and high profile cancer survivor Lance Armstrong is a self-professed atheist.  Raised by his church deacon step-father, a violent and overbearing man, Armstrong rejected conventional religion in his early life. Yet throughout much of his suffering and cycling career, Armstrong has openly worn a silver cross. New research in the Journal of Contemporary Religion explores his journey through defeating cancer, sporting triumph and drugs scandal, and asks must spirituality go hand-in hand with religion? Lance Armstrong believes not.

The cross: an icon synonymous with religious faith, though not always. Goths and punks wear them as fashion statements and Armstrong wears his to cross boundaries between religious and secular realms to express his own version of spirituality. Despite his scepticism, his autobiographies reveal a fascination for religious imagery and make reference to salvation, God, angels and heaven. Armstrong himself openly acknowledges his contradictions, attributing them to his ‘survivorship’ and ‘spirituality of suffering’. Having faced death, he did not pray but ‘hoped hard’, and began earnest activism for ‘comrades in chemo’, via his foundation which yielded huge financial and medical care to cancer sufferers worldwide. His personal suffering and altruism led to an epiphany and a state of non-religious spirituality. He quotes “I do believe, just not necessarily the same way they do. I’m a spiritual person who lacks a vocabulary for it”.

Armstrong’s cross was a present from his mother, who also gave one to his friend and fellow cancer sufferer. They pledged to wear them as a bond between them and when his friend died, he constantly wore his as promised. So here stands Armstrong, a professed believer in all things solely material, physical and scientific, but also the purveyor of a powerful religious icon. To make sense of this atheist/spiritual paradox, should we accept that in contemporary culture religion is not always religious in the sacred sense? Instead we are seeing a ‘cultural religion’ where the secular and religious collide to form a new postmodern spirituality. 

The question that begs to be asked of Lance Armstrong now, of course, is how his spiritual beliefs can help him in returning from his doping cheat shame. Many will believe he has to pedal harder now to reach ‘the God of mercy and compassion’ traditionally symbolised by the cross he chooses to wear.

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* Read the full article online:http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13537903.2015.986981

About Taylor & Francis Group

Taylor & Francis Group partners with researchers, scholarly societies, universities and libraries worldwide to bring knowledge to life.  As one of the world’s leading publishers of scholarly journals, books, ebooks and reference works our content spans all areas of Humanities, Social Sciences, Behavioural Sciences, Science, and Technology and Medicine.

From our network of offices in Oxford, New York, Philadelphia, Boca Raton, Boston, Melbourne, Singapore, Beijing, Tokyo, Stockholm, New Delhi and Johannesburg, Taylor & Francis staff provide local expertise and support to our editors, societies and authors and tailored, efficient customer service to our library colleagues.

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Steven Turner, Marketing Co-ordinator
Email: Steven.Turner@tandf.co.uk

, Oxford.

Music to the ears of dementia suffers: learning to play saxophone after diagnosis

South Korean researchers have just revealed details of an usual case which offers new insights into frontotemporal dementia (FTD).

Writing in the latest issue of the journal Neurocase, Dr Hanna Cho and her colleagues relate the story of a patient who, with no prior musical training, learned to play the saxophone after being diagnosed with a behavioural variant of FTD. 

In fact, over three years of daily practise in the face of otherwise “progressive cognitive decline and overall apathy”, the patient mastered 10 Korean folk songs so well that he outshone the others in his class without a cognitive impairment.

The case of the middle-aged man known only as 'J.K.' is significant because while some patients with FTD experience “an artistic enhancement” of their existing visual or musical abilities, there has been no record to date of anyone learning to play an instrument after diagnosis.  

The researchers put forward three possible explanations for 'J.K'’s unusual skill, mostly to do with the sparing by FTD of particular abilities or parts of his brain, in particular his basal ganglia and cerebellum (preserving his procedural, non-declarative forms of memory and basic motor skills), his visuo-constructive abilities (allowing him to sight-read and play music) and his right hemisphere (where 'asymmetric hemisphere degeneration' might have predisposed him to develop artistic talents. 

But whatever the reason for the patient’s virtuoso saxophone playing, this study and the medical observations, case notes and images detailed within it pose interesting questions – and perhaps some answers – for dementia research.  It also has intriguing implications for the use of music therapy and music-based cognitive rehabilitation in FTD patients.

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* Read the full article online:http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13554794.2014.992915

About Taylor & Francis Group

Taylor & Francis Group partners with researchers, scholarly societies, universities and libraries worldwide to bring knowledge to life. As one of the world’s leading publishers of scholarly journals, books, e-books and reference works our content spans all areas of Humanities, Social Sciences, Behavioural Sciences, Science, and Technology and Medicine. 

From our network of offices in Oxford, New York, Philadelphia, Boca Raton, Boston, Melbourne, Singapore, Beijing, Tokyo, Stockholm, New Delhi and Johannesburg, Taylor & Francis staff provide local expertise and support to our editors, societies and authors and tailored, efficient customer service to our library colleagues. 

For more information please contact: 
Claire Thomas, Senior Marketing Executive, Behavioral Science Journals 
email: claire.thomas@tandf.co.uk

, Oxford.

Looking for happiness in all the wrong places

Everyone knows that money can’t buy happiness – but what might make rich people happier is revealed in the current issue of The Journal of Positive Psychology.

James A. Roberts of Baylor University and his two colleagues set out to explore the relationship between materialism – making acquisition of material possessions a central focus of one’s life – and life satisfaction.

Numerous studies have already shown that people who are more materialistic are generally less satisfied with their standards of living, their relationships and their lives as a whole. With that being the case, the researchers wondered if anything could moderate that relationship and in effect make materialistic people more satisfied with their lot.

They write: “Given the negative relationship that materialism has with positive affect, it stands to reason that positive affect and related constructs such as gratitude might be important moderators in the association between materialism and life satisfaction. In contrast to materialism, gratitude is a positive emotion that is experienced when someone perceives that another person has intentionally given him or her a valued benefit.”

To test their theory, the trio analysed the results of a specially designed questionnaire sent to 249 university students. The main results were as expected. “People who pursue happiness through material gain tend to feel worse, and this is related to negative appraisals of their satisfaction with life,” they confirmed.

However, their results also demonstrated that gratitude, and to a lesser extent, positive affect, both ‘buffer’ the negative effects of materialism, in effect making more grateful individuals more satisfied with their lives.

The team observed: “Individuals high in gratitude showed less of a relationship between materialism and negative affect. Additionally, individuals high in materialism showed decreased life satisfaction when either gratitude or positive affect was low.”

The trio conclude that negative affect, positive affect and gratitude seem to be ‘key pieces to the puzzle of the relationship between materialism and dissatisfaction with life.’ They suggest that the ‘pro-social, other-focused nature of gratitude’ might help to reduce the ‘self-focus’ inherent in materialism.

“Specifically, individuals who are able to appreciate what they have even while engaging in materialistic pursuits might be able to be maintain high levels of life satisfaction.”

In other words, being rich isn’t enough to make you happy; you also need to be grateful as well.

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* Read the full article online:http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/17439760.2015.1004553

About Taylor & Francis Group

Taylor & Francis Group partners with researchers, scholarly societies, universities and libraries worldwide to bring knowledge to life. As one of the world’s leading publishers of scholarly journals, books, e-books and reference works our content spans all areas of Humanities, Social Sciences, Behavioural Sciences, Science, and Technology and Medicine. 

From our network of offices in Oxford, New York, Philadelphia, Boca Raton, Boston, Melbourne, Singapore, Beijing, Tokyo, Stockholm, New Delhi and Johannesburg, Taylor & Francis staff provide local expertise and support to our editors, societies and authors and tailored, efficient customer service to our library colleagues. 

For more information please contact: 
Claire Thomas, Senior Marketing Executive, Behavioral Science Journals 
email: claire.thomas@tandf.co.uk

, Oxford.

Unfit to work or a benefits scrounger? A study of UK Channel 4’s Benefits Street

The popularity of the recent hit TV show 'Benefits Street' has alerted the public’s attention as to who is really claiming benefits these days. Are the people on the TV series genuinely ‘disabled/unfit to work,’ or are they just clowns in the media circus surrounding the benefit system?

Recently published in Disability & Society, the article 'DisPovertyPorn: Benefits Street and the dis/ability paradox' by Runswick-Cole & Goodley offers a socio-cultural analysis of UK Channel 4’s reality television series 'Benefits Street'.

This study delves deep into whether a new archetype of media represents ‘poor’ people in a negative light; highlighting their faults and suggesting that they simply don’t want to work. This is done for entertainment purposes, creating a culture of ‘poverty porn’ which raises the question; is this form of ‘entertainment’ actually a form of exploitation of the subjects of these TV shows?

The authors cite Tracy Jensen’s research which explores the classed and gendered intersections of contemporary parenting culture: “Nowadays there are reality television programmes that seek to individualise poverty, and to blame and shame ‘the poor’ for the situations they find themselves in.”

The study explores what it is to have a disability and ways in which the category of disability ‘enlarges, disrupts, pauses, questions and clarifies what it means to be human’.

Cultural understandings as to what it means to be a ‘scrounger’ are explored and they consider public perception on whether these people are considered genuinely disabled, or simply work-shy.

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* Read the full article online:http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/09687599.2015.1008294

About Taylor & Francis Group

Taylor & Francis Group partners with researchers, scholarly societies, universities and libraries worldwide to bring knowledge to life.  As one of the world’s leading publishers of scholarly journals, books, ebooks and reference works our content spans all areas of Humanities, Social Sciences, Behavioural Sciences, Science, and Technology and Medicine.   From our network of offices in Oxford, New York, Philadelphia, Boca Raton, Boston, Melbourne, Singapore, Beijing, Tokyo, Stockholm, New Delhi and Johannesburg, Taylor & Francis staff provide local expertise and support to our editors, societies and authors and tailored, efficient customer service to our library colleagues.  For more information please contact:

Katie Whittington, Marketing Coordinator, Journals
email: Katie.Whittington@informa.com

, Oxford.

Protests with proposals: Activist planning in the Dominican Republic

Working in the slums of Los Platanitos since 2008, Bjorn Sletto and his partners in local government, civil society organizations, and academia are collaborating with residents to address the lack of waste collection in the community.

The failure in basic services is partly due to the privatization of waste collection - characteristic of Santo Domingo’s governance. The results of this official neglect are that household waste accumulates in public spaces and waterways in Los Platanitos - leading to flooding and public health problems. But the decentralization and privatization of planning functions has also created an opportunity to pursue innovative urban management locally.

Arising from this research is a collection of articles for Planning Theory and Practice which grapples with the contradictions that arise when planners, educators, activists and community members work together and take on central roles in urban planning and governance.

In the study, city planner Juan Torres describes the evolution of neoliberal planning in the Dominican Republic and the limits placed on citizen participation, whilst activist Nicolas Mendoza explains how his organization has taken advantage of the decentralization of planning authority.

Dominican scholar Amparo Chantada delivers a cautionary commentary about the political implications of activist planning - for whilst community-based organisations have become key in the development of planning projects they have also contributed to the fragmentation of planning and policy-making: "Organizations have to a large degree scaled back on their broader, social criticism and, arguably, placed the radical, democratizing potential of the urban social movement in the Dominican Republic at risk.”

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* Read the full article online:http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/14649357.2014.964960

About Taylor & Francis Group

Taylor & Francis Group partners with researchers, scholarly societies, universities and libraries worldwide to bring knowledge to life.  As one of the world’s leading publishers of scholarly journals, books, ebooks and reference works our content spans all areas of Humanities, Social Sciences, Behavioural Sciences, Science, and Technology and Medicine.

From our network of offices in Oxford, New York, Philadelphia, Boca Raton, Boston, Melbourne, Singapore, Beijing, Tokyo, Stockholm, New Delhi and Johannesburg, Taylor & Francis staff provide local expertise and support to our editors, societies and authors and tailored, efficient customer service to our library colleagues.

For more information, please contact:

James Collyer, Marketing Coordinator, Taylor & Francis Group.
Email: James.Collyer@tandf.co.uk

, Oxford.

Apple of the mind’s eye: how good is our memory of everyday visual stimuli?

In our world of branding and repetitive advertising, it is feasible that we dutifully soak up visuals and messages and store them accurately in our mind’s eye. New research published in Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology tests this theory by examining our memory of the ubiquitous Apple logo and our perceived ability for recall.  Blake, Castel and Nazarian ask ‘are we really paying attention?’ Their experiment reveals some surprising insights.

Apple: a logo recognised the world over, visually appealing, highly recognisable and seen by most every single day. With such visibility surely we stand a good chance of remembering it? Past research has shown that memory can be poor for daily items, our brains glossing over the details and only taking the gist.

So the question remains; does exposure enhance memory? The authors test the theory via an experiment during which a group of undergraduates (both Apple and PC users) were asked to draw the logo from memory and then choose the correct logo from a set of 8 alternatives. The study rated candidates' confidence levels pre and post experiment. Astonishingly, only 1 out of 85 was able to accurately draw the logo and less than half chose the correct image from the selection. Confidence levels and recognition did not correlate; confidence pre task was 55% higher than post. Candidates rapidly adjusted their confidence estimates post retrieval upon realising the complexity of the task. This striking difference shows our memory to be much poorer than we believe and highlights lack of self-awareness to our own attention lapses.

This experiment has given unique insight into accuracy of visual memory and recall judgement. The authors suggest the poor performance is due to “attentional saturation”, they note “Increased exposure increases familiarity and confidence, but does not reliably affect memory. Despite frequent exposure to a simple and visually pleasing logo, attention and memory are not always tuned to remembering what we may think is memorable.

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* Read the full article online:http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/17470218.2014.1002798

About Taylor & Francis Group

Taylor & Francis Group partners with researchers, scholarly societies, universities and libraries worldwide to bring knowledge to life. As one of the world’s leading publishers of scholarly journals, books, e-books and reference works our content spans all areas of Humanities, Social Sciences, Behavioural Sciences, Science, and Technology and Medicine. 

From our network of offices in Oxford, New York, Philadelphia, Boca Raton, Boston, Melbourne, Singapore, Beijing, Tokyo, Stockholm, New Delhi and Johannesburg, Taylor & Francis staff provide local expertise and support to our editors, societies and authors and tailored, efficient customer service to our library colleagues. 

For more information please contact: 
Claire Thomas, Senior Marketing Executive, Behavioral Science Journals 
email: claire.thomas@tandf.co.uk

, Philadelphia.

Body temperature and obesity: new study suggests connection

A new study suggests that a biological inability to create sufficient core body heat could be linked to the obesity epidemic. “Evidence of a diurnal thermogenic handicap in obesity” is featured in this year’s second issue of Chronobiology International.

The study found that obesity is associated with a significant reduction of body core temperature during daytime hours. Journal Editor Francesco Portaluppi explains that the reduced ability of obese people to spend energy as heat compared to lean individuals could result in long term weight gain (about 2 kg or 4.5 lbs) per year, depending on the lifestyle.

Originally understood as an imbalance between energy intake and expenditure, obesity is viewed in this article by comparing the body core temperature of obese subjects to lean, healthy controls. The study concluded that a significantly reduced temperature was much more prevalent in the obese subjects. This biological handicap, the authors believe, can predispose subjects to becoming obese.

“Since body core temperature represents a marker of energy expenditure, results from this study suggest that a diurnal thermogenic handicap can play a crucial role in favoring weight gain in obese subjects,” said article co-author Pietro Cortelli, MD, Ph.D.

Cortelli stresses the importance of this study, which strongly supports the possibility of a new therapeutic target for the treatment of obesity.

Although there will be more studies needed, Portaluppi said this study can open the door for more innovative ways to treat obesity.

Informa Healthcare is part of Taylor & Francis Group.

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* Read the full article online:http://informahealthcare.com/doi/full/10.3109/07420528.2014.983603

About Taylor & Francis Group

Taylor & Francis Group partners with researchers, scholarly societies, universities and libraries worldwide to bring knowledge to life.  As one of the world’s leading publishers of scholarly journals, books, ebooks and reference works our content spans all areas of Humanities, Social Sciences, Behavioural Sciences, Science, and Technology and Medicine.   From our network of offices in Oxford, New York, Philadelphia, Boca Raton, Boston, Melbourne, Singapore, Beijing, Tokyo, Stockholm, New Delhi and Johannesburg, Taylor & Francis staff provide local expertise and support to our editors, societies and authors and tailored, efficient customer service to our library colleagues.

For more information please contact: 
Carolan DiFiore
Journals Marketing Associate
carolan.difiore@taylorandfrancis.com

, Oxford.

Custodial grandparents: depressed, anxious and stressed?

New research published in Journal of Family Studies this month reveals that grandparents who care for grandchildren with abnormal emotional and hyperactive symptoms are more likely to experience lower levels of life satisfaction.

The study also suggests that there are implications for their grandchildren, with children involved in this parenting arrangement showing a greater frequency of emotional and behavioural problems than the normative population.

The study examined a sample of 100 grandparents with an average age of 63.14 who cared for a mean of 1.61 grandchildren, with an average age of 9.48 years old. The research was conducted through a series of questionnaires and surveys. Participants completed the child mental health measures for each of their grandchildren.

A negative relationship was also found between the availability of social support for grandparents and reported feelings of stress, anxiousness and depression. The authors of the research comment that such a relationship "is especially profound in light of evidence that custodial grandparents commonly report social isolation and peer alienation associated with acting as a parent to their grandchild".

The research has profound implications for practitioners looking to work with this parent group.

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* Read the full article online:http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13229400.2015.1015215

About Taylor & Francis Group

Taylor & Francis Group partners with researchers, scholarly societies, universities and libraries worldwide to bring knowledge to life.  As one of the world’s leading publishers of scholarly journals, books, ebooks and reference works our content spans all areas of Humanities, Social Sciences, Behavioural Sciences, Science, and Technology and Medicine.   From our network of offices in Oxford, New York, Philadelphia, Boca Raton, Boston, Melbourne, Singapore, Beijing, Tokyo, Stockholm, New Delhi and Johannesburg, Taylor & Francis staff provide local expertise and support to our editors, societies and authors and tailored, efficient customer service to our library colleagues.

For more information please contact:
Rebecca Bray
Taylor & Francis Journals
Email: rebecca.bray@tandf.co.uk

, Oxford.

No room to think: depressive thoughts may have a negative effect on working memory

A new study in the journal Cognition and Emotion illustrates the link between reduced working memory capacity and dysphoria, a significant and prolonged depressed mood related to clinical depression.

Building on the knowledge that dysphoric individuals (DIs) and clinically depressed people maintain their attention on ‘mood-congruent’ information longer than people without depressed mood, Nicholas A. Hubbard and his colleagues carried out three studies to test both working memory and processing speed.

The first was a recall task with ‘neutral’ interference, the second a variation of the first with ‘depressive’ interference in the form of negative statements about mood, and the third a replication of the first two studies with a focus on processing speed and recall.

When the researchers analysed their results, they found that there was no real difference between DI and non-DI working-memory capacity in the first study, but with the introduction of ‘depressive’ interference, the picture changed. The inability of DIs to move away from the negative thoughts included in the second study appeared to reduce the amount of working memory they had available for the recall task.

“Results from these studies imply that mood-congruent information evokes controlled attention deficits in individuals with depressed mood,” the authors conclude. “If mood-congruent information is not able to be efficiently removed from the focus of attention, we would expect this to result in a relative decrease in working-memory capacity for individuals with depressed mood compared to those without depressed mood.”

With day-to-day memory and concentration difficulties a defining feature of both clinical depression and dysphoria, understanding the link between the two is of vital importance to improving the wellbeing of those who experience either condition. 

The researchers note: “Such deficits take a personal toll on these individuals with depressed mood and have societal consequences via loss of productivity and an increased rate of disability. It is likely that persistent thinking about affectively negative, mood congruent information … can impair real-world functioning for those with depressed mood.”

The observations contained in this article hint at future areas of research that could improve the wellbeing of those with depressed mood, including further examination of the impact that reduced working memory has on individuals’ daily lives. It is also provides important insight into a relatively unknown, but certainly distressing, effect of the condition.

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About Taylor & Francis Group

Taylor & Francis Group partners with researchers, scholarly societies, universities and libraries worldwide to bring knowledge to life. As one of the world’s leading publishers of scholarly journals, books, e-books and reference works our content spans all areas of Humanities, Social Sciences, Behavioural Sciences, Science, and Technology and Medicine. 

From our network of offices in Oxford, New York, Philadelphia, Boca Raton, Boston, Melbourne, Singapore, Beijing, Tokyo, Stockholm, New Delhi and Johannesburg, Taylor & Francis staff provide local expertise and support to our editors, societies and authors and tailored, efficient customer service to our library colleagues. 

For more information please contact: 
Claire Thomas, Senior Marketing Executive, Behavioral Science Journals 
email: claire.thomas@tandf.co.uk

, Philadelphia.

The American Journal of Bioethics Announces Two Additions to Editorial Team

The American Journal of Bioethics (AJOB) is delighted to announce two new additions to its esteemed Editorial Team.

John Lantos, Associate Editor

John Lantos, MD, is Director of the Children’s Mercy Hospital Bioethics Center in Kansas City.  Prior to moving to Kansas City, he was a Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Chicago, where he was also Chief of General Pediatrics and Associate Director of the MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics. 

Dr. Lantos has held many leadership positions in bioethics and pediatrics.  He is past president of both the American Society of Bioethics and Humanities as well as the American Society of Law, Medicine, and Ethics.  He is on the Executive Committee of the American Academy of Pediatrics Section on Bioethics. He is an Associate Editor of Pediatrics and Perspectives in Biology and Medicine. He was named one of the best pediatricians in the Midwest by Ladies Home Journal. 

He has published hundreds of peer-reviewed articles and many books, including The Lazarus CaseNeonatal Bioethics, and Do We Still Need Doctors?  He has discussed designer babies on Larry King Live, medical errors on Oprah, and ethics consultations on Nightline.  His latest book, Preterm Babies, Fetal Patients, and Childbearing Choices (MIT 2015), analyzes the rise of fetal medicine and how it changes the way people think about perinatal decisions.

Anita Tarzian, Clinical Ethics Co-Editor

Anita Tarzian serves as Program Coordinator for the Maryland Health Care Ethics Committee Network (MHECN), which is run out of the Law and Health Care Program at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law. Dr. Tarzian is an Associate Professor at the University of Maryland School of Nursing, in the Department of Family and Community Health. She serves as an IRB Co-Chair at Chesapeake Research Review, Inc., in Columbia, MD, and also as an independent ethics consultant. She served as Chair of the Clinical Ethics Consultation Affairs (CECA) Standing Committee of the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities (ASBH), and ASBH’s Core Competencies Update Task Force, which produced a second edition of the report, “Core Competencies for Health Care Ethics Consultation.”

Dr. Tarzian received her doctorate in Nursing (focus in Ethics) from the University of Maryland School of Nursing, and a Masters from the same university in Intercultural Nursing. She has a clinical background in surgical oncology and hospice nursing, and is a returned Peace Corps Volunteer (Dominican Republic). Her professional focus has been in clinical and research ethics, including clinical ethics consultation in acute and long-term care settings, ethics education, palliative care, hospice, the influence of culture on health care decision-making, and disability rights.

About Taylor & Francis Group

Taylor & Francis Group partners with researchers, scholarly societies, universities and libraries worldwide to bring knowledge to life.  As one of the world’s leading publishers of scholarly journals, books, ebooks and reference works our content spans all areas of Humanities, Social Sciences, Behavioural Sciences, Science, and Technology and Medicine.

From our network of offices in Oxford, New York, Philadelphia, Boca Raton, Boston, Melbourne, Singapore, Beijing, Tokyo, Stockholm, New Delhi and Johannesburg, Taylor & Francis staff provide local expertise and support to our editors, societies and authors and tailored, efficient customer service to our library colleagues.

For more information please contact:
Marisa Starr, Marketing Manager, Journals
Email: marisa.starr@taylorandfrancis.com