Tag: civilisational collapse

  • How bad will things get? The role of social theory when civilisation is collapsing

    How bad will things get? The role of social theory when civilisation is collapsing

    In the early pages of Surveillance Capitalism there is an evocative description of personal loss. Shoshana Zuboff recounts the experience of watching her house burn down, struggling to recognise the reality of what she was saying. The point she is making is that the unprecedented character of this event left her unable to fully comprehend what was taking place.

  • The death march into crisis

    This is a typically astute piece from Richard Seymour on the intersection between social failure and environmental change generating the current crisis in Texas. He offers a disturbing analysis of the (attempted) creation of “mobilised political constituency that is ready, even morally energised, for quite a lot of death”

  • Popular Culture and Pandemic Imaginaries

    It was clear that Songbird was a dreadful film, with atrocious script and terrible politics. However it was impossible to resist as a cultural expression of the ideas about society and the pandemic circulating in these febrile times. The story unfolds four years into a lockdown in America, as COVID-23 devastates the planet with a much higher fatality rate than the familiar virus from which it mutated:

  • Is capitalism too big to fail?

    I can’t stop thinking about these words from David Harvey, recirculated by Richard Seymour in this excellent post: Capital, right now, is too big to fail. We cannot imagine a situation where we would shut down the flow of capital. Because if we shut down the flow of capital, eighty percent of the world’s population […]

  • The sociology of civilisational collapse

    The sociology of civilisational collapse

    I found this section by Raj Patel and Jason W. Moore really arresting to read a couple of months into the Covid-19 crisis, from loc 216 -231 of their A History of the World in Seven Cheap Things. Cascading failures brought feudalism to an end but there were long struggles as elites resisted demands for change but without having the […]

  • The epistemology of apocalypse 

    From Naomi Klein’s This Changes Everything pg 105: The word “apocalypse” derives from the Greek apokalypsis, which means “something uncovered” or revealed. Besides the need for a dramatically better health care system, there was much else uncovered and revealed when the floodwaters retreated in New York that October. The disaster revealed how dangerous it is […]

  • The Banal Reality of Democracy’s Death

    There are two issues which have long fascinated me that seem more salient with each passing day. Our struggle to conceptualise long term social change from within (particularly the possibility of civilisational collapse) and the transition away from democratic government. Cinematic spectacle dominates the imaginary through we conceive of either, whether this is our imagery of what a collapsed […]