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The return of normality

One of the key fault lines in post-pandemic politics is likely to be the return of ‘normality’. The pandemic won’t have an off switch, as this useful piece explains. If ‘herd immunity’ is achieved it will likely be a fleeting achievement within national boundaries, leaving countries bound up in a logic of biosecurity which could intersect in worrying ways with the neo-nationalism which precedes the pandemic.

Post-pandemic reconstruction

I’ve been thinking a lot about what reconstruction will look after pandemic, as well as how it will compare to older periods of social reconstruction. There’s something of this captured in Anne Helen Petersen’s newsletter last night about the potential significance of online communities after the pandemic. Will the trend of bowling alone be reversed as we begin to leave the crisis stage of COVID-19?

The creative freedom of post-work

From Post-Capitalist Desire by Mark Fisher, pg 77: I just think about the Beatles. What does a post-work society look like? It kind of looks like what life was like for them, doesn’t it? They didn’t have to work. They’d made enough money, surely, by the early Sixties to just […]

The responsibility of educators in a pandemic

I thought this was brilliant from Ruha Benjamin, in the forward to Critical Digital Pedagogy, describing the responsibilities of educators. It applies more broadly than our present crisis but it feels even more pertinent against the backdrop of the pandemic: So, what are the responsibilities of educators and educational institutions […]

What comes after Trump?

Much of the commentary on the possibility of post-Trump Trumpism has tended to focus on the possibility of a much more competent populist emerging to lead this movement i.e. one who is disciplined, strategic and serious in contrast to the impulsive and instinctive character of the outgoing president. However this […]

Two approaches to musical performance

I thought this was a really interesting analysis which captures a split in my own musical tastes, as an interest in provocative music co-exists uneasily with a desire for collective experience through live music: Afro-American music is still cherished for its tragic yet affirmative sense of life. But it got […]

This machine eats normativity

In his recent book of essays, Will Davies draws a comparison between securitisation and digital platforms. From pg 15-16 of This Is Not Normal: These are just some of the ways in which the credit derivative and the platform have transformed our political world in the twenty-first century. But there […]

The epochal theorising of Zygmunt Bauman

I thought this was a great account of Zygmunt Bauman’s style by David Beer in his newsletter. It’s the same quality which can be found in the trilogy of books by Giddens in the early 1990s which, along with Bauman’s oeuvre, facilitated my transition from philosophy to sociology. These works […]

The lumpen-libertarian uprising

From this disturbing piece by Richard Seymour: A glance at the crowd shows it to be younger and more heteroclite than one would expect. The heavily armed protests in the US mostly resembled outings of a Duck Dynasty fan club. Granted, in these English displays, there is the inevitable quorate […]

The coming fascism

The closing passage from Richard Seymour’s latest essay has been reverberating in my mind since I read it: Should we fail to posit the alternative, the constructive reworking of civilisation that is so urgently required, and that accommodates us to inhospitable nature, we do not get the boom years and […]