Category: Post-Neoliberal Civics

I’ve spent the last couple of years grappling with the notion of ‘post-truth’ in order to understand the changing social and political context within which academics are using social media. It’s a term I’m instinctively wary of because it so often fails to transcend the level of platitude, enabling people to dismiss political currents they […]

This point made by Benjamin Bratton, in a personal conversation quoted by Zizek in Pandemic!, makes an important point about how we categorise state action in a crisis like this. From loc 523: China introduced measures that Western Europe and the USA are unlikely to tolerate, perhaps to their own detriment. Put bluntly, it is […]

From Zizek’s The Ticklish Subject pg 430: In short, the only way effectively to bring about a society in which risky long-term decisions would ensue from public debate involving all concerned is some kind of radical limitation of Capital’s freedom, the subordination of the process of production to social control – the radical repoliticisation of the […]

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about how breaks, ruptures and transitions are conceived of an ontological level. They are evidenced through factors across a range of domains which are presented as indicators of change but the underlying rupture must exceed these particular trends in order to be regarded as such. There’s something might and […]

I thought this was a good summary of the strange alliances unfolding as the plate tectonics of politics shift, from Rosi Braidotti’s Post Human Knowledge pg 34-35: Former liberal thinkers turning arch-conservative, in response to the current US administration’s preference for white supremacy, is becoming a salient feature of the contemporary American theory wars (Lilla […]

From Aaron Bastani’s Fully Automated Luxury Communism loc 373: While neoliberalism, which emerged with the Thatcher and Reagan governments, led to higher unemployment and lower wage growth, for more than a generation this was mitigated by access to cheaper goods and services–by relocating production to countries with lower wages–as well as inflated asset prices, particularly […]

From Matt Taibbi’s Hate Inc loc 120: In 2016 especially, news reporters began to consciously divide and radicalize audiences. The cover was that we were merely “calling out” our divisive new president, Donald Trump. But from where I sat, the press was now working in collaboration with Trump, acting in his simplistic mirror image, creating […]

From David Harvey, Cosmopolitanism and the Geographies of Freedom, Columbia University Press, 2009, pp. 80–1: The optimistic cosmopolitanism that became so fashionable following the Cold War, Craig Calhoun points out, not only bore all the marks of its history as “a project of empires, of long-distance trade, and of cities,” it also shaped up as […]

This is an important point by Current Affairs editor Nathan Robinson which echoes an argument Will Davies made a couple of years ago. The claim of being suppressed, being denied a platform, plays an increasingly crucial role in how reactionary celebrities build their platform. It draws attention for their work, provides them with their narrative and […]

One of the curious features of social media is how it encourages reflection on the use of social media. It has brought novel experiences and the capacity to discuss novelty, leading to a growing focus on online interaction as an object of online interaction. The result is often far from pretty: I take ‘post-truth’ to be in […]

This short piece on OpenDemocracy captures something I’ve been obsessing about since the UK election: Neoliberalism is limping to its death, and it’s up to us to make sure that what comes next isn’t something worse. The energy, the ideas and the people are all on our side. It seems increasingly clear that neoliberalism is […]

This essay about Stephen Pinker raises a number of issues which I think are crucial to understanding the emerging contours of liberal anti-leftism. For example the tendency to profess a concern for social problems and then attack those who are actively seeking to address those problems: What’s maddening about Pinker’s body of recent work is […]

This extract from loc 335 of Anna Weinar’s Uncanny Valley captures something I find fascinating about the so-called ‘sharing economy’: the challenge of creating normative guidelines for novel forms of interaction which these platforms have facilitated. It was my first time paying to stay with strangers. The apartment was clean and welcoming, full of overstuffed […]

I was fascinated by the account Adam Phillips offers in this conversation of psychoanalysis as a less clamorous place from which to come to terms with our lives. Obviously each individual is going to be different. But for a lot of people, the political world seems unintelligible, overwhelmingly complicated and frightening. And yet everybody feels […]

From The Convivial Society vol 1, no. 1:  At the same time, however, it also seems to me that especially given the scale and scope of our problems, it may be that we need to draw attention again to very basic and fundamental realities. That we must learn again what it means to take responsibility […]

This illuminating Vanity Fair article captures an important transition in digital politics, as the data science driven Clinton campaign was eclipsed by the social media savvy Trump campaign: While Democrats spent the last decade running A/B tests and refining their voter models, Republicans stumbled into learning how to weaponize content on social media by going […]

This passage from Tim Wu’s The Master Switch pg 225 offers a useful account for making sense of the rise of a figure like Lawrence Fox. When the ‘arms race of exposure’ is more intense than ever because social media means a great many of us have entered into it, new strategies become necessary to […]

I’ve resisted blogging about the Labour leadership election in spite of the fact I’m both obsessing about it and deeply conflicted about who to support. To my surprise I’m taking Lisa Nandy very seriously and this is in large part because she seems to be the only candidate to have thought deeply about the profound […]