Category: Post-Neoliberal Civics

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 shoved aside in the late […]

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 is more to it than […]

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 excited me because they provided […]

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 of Nazis, QAnon supporters, flag […]

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 centrist orthodoxy. We get harder […]

I’m reading Jeffrey Alexander’s massive The Civil Sphere in the final stages of my project with Lambros Fatsis on public sociology. The reviewers suggested we need to expand our concept of publicness to take account of the notion of civil sphere, defined by Alexander on pg 3 as “a world of values and institutions that generates the […]

I’m greatly enjoying Christopher Kelty’s recent book The Participant which is an enormously creative reflection on participation from a philosophical and anthropological perspective. What endears me to it so much is it clear sense of the ontology of participation which it sustains without remaining stuck at the level of ontology. He treats participation as: A concept A […]

As often happens when I read older texts by Peter Sloterdijk, I’m struck by a sense of their enduring relevance compared to other thinkers who write in his register. In this extract from his Infinite Mobilisation (1997) he writes about the significance of those experiences when infrastructure struggles and we grind to a halt. What he […]

There’s a short aside in Against The Web by Michael Brooks which identifies something which I’ve often reflected on. For all their terrible characteristics figures like Jordan Peterson are serving an existential need which the left ought to understand. From pg 50: Like everyone else, young white men are trying to muddle through life in […]

A few days ago, I tweeted* a complaint to a public transport operator in frustration at how few people were wearing masks on their services and the seeming lack of enforcement by the operators. I was visiting my parents, who’ve been shielding since March and I was growing increasingly concerned that I was exposing them […]

From Raj Patel and Jason W. Moore’s A History of the World in Seven Cheap Things loc 2651-2699: When the United States abandoned the gold standard in August 1971,80 international capital sought refuge from this “Nixon shock” in commodity purchases. At the same time, the Soviet Union—following poor harvests—traded its oil for wheat, driving up […]

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 […]