Tag: politics

  • Why isn’t the cost of living crisis the defining issue of UK politics?

    Why isn’t the cost of living crisis the defining issue of UK politics?

    I increasingly wonder why the cost of living crisis isn’t the defining issue of UK politics. We have seen the longest period of wage stagnation since the Napoleonic wars which means a real terms cut for most when inflation is factored in. Furthermore as Anna Minton points out on loc 592 of Big Capital the […]

  • The politics of seeking a less clamorous place

    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 […]

  • The outlook of the digital technocrat

    The outlook of the digital technocrat

    From Automating Inequality by Virgina Eubanks pg 123-124: The proponents of the coordinated entry system, like many who seek to harness computational power for social justice, tend to find affinity with systems engineering approaches to social problems. These perspectives assume that complex controversies can be solved by getting correct information where it needs to go […]

  • Viral populism: what happens when isomorphism through algorithm hits politics?

    Viral populism: what happens when isomorphism through algorithm hits politics?

    This is an admirably prescient post from 2014 by BuzzFeed editor Ben Smith about the viral populism which social media has facilitated. It brings a new dimension to political life which eludes the familiar expectations of pundits: At some point in the next two years, the pollsters and ad makers who steer American presidential campaigns […]

  • The disjointed temporality of political life

    I’ve long been drawn to accounts of the everyday lives of politicians. This isn’t so much a matter of biographical curiosity, as much as a preoccupation with temporality. It is not that the temporal character of our lives moulds us but rather that the things which do are always inflected through temporality. I’m convinced you […]

  • Against the ‘political rulebook’

    Much of the reaction to Labour’s election success last week has been framed in terms of their ‘rewriting the rules’. One particularly explicit example of this can be seen in an article by Jonathan Freedland, an enthusiastic critic of Corbyn, pontificating that Corbyn took “the traditional political rulebook” and “put it through the shedder”. What […]

  • “Help! Help! Here comes everybody!”: Social Media and Corbynism

    How has social media contributed to the growing success of Corbynism? In asking this question, we risk falling into the trap of determinism by constructing ‘social media’ as an independent force bringing about effects in an otherwise unchanged world. This often goes hand-in-hand with what Nick Couldry calls ‘the myth of us’, framing social media in […]

  • What’s the difference between academia and politics?

    In his wonderful memoir, Adults In The Room, Yanis Varoufakis reflects on the frustrations of politics and how they compare to academia. From loc 5504: Possibly because of my academic background, this was the Brussels experience I least expected and found most frustrating. In academia one gets used to having one’s thesis torn apart, sometimes with little decorum; […]

  • The Politics of Agency

    Ever since I was a philosophy student, I’ve been interested in how we conceptualise individuals and groups. The two are connected in my mind because, if groups are composed of individuals, our concept of individuals is going to condition our concept of groups and vice versa. However discussion at this level of abstraction can seem […]

  • Cognitive triage in politics

    How widespread is this? From The Confidence Men, by Ron Suskind, pg 585: Emanuel, with his day-to-day focus on “getting points on the board,” scrambled for quick results, trying to win each day’s news cycle. As Bob Rubin told one of his many acolytes in the White House during a phone call, “Rahm’s more inclined […]

  • The Skilled Demagoguery of Donald J. Trump

    This is disturbing and skilful stuff. A performance of populism quite unlike the rhetoric of it which we’re much more familiar with: “The other night in the debate,” he told thousands in Manchester, “they asked Ted Cruz a serious question: what do you think of waterboarding? Is it OK? I thought he’d say absolutely, and he didn’t. And […]

  • the ‘religion’ of digital elites 

    There’s a really fascinating article on Tech Crunch describing the political views of start-up founders in Silicon Valley. It makes the point that there’s a communitarian streak, albeit a very strange one, underpinning the politics of digital elites. To describe them as libertarian misses the ideological specificity of a cohesive current of opinion that has […]

  • the meaning of scrounging in conservative britain 

    HT Nadine Muller   

  • the antinomies of blairism

    Earlier today Tony Blair gave a speech in which he finally took the gloves off. As someone with a growing interest in theorising post-democracy, I found it oddly intriguing. To anyone acquainted with the writing Anthony Giddens was spewing out in the 1990s, it was familiar stuff. Despite the fact his politics would long since have placed him […]

  • David Cameron Serenaded By Ukulele Player Singing ‘F**k Off Back To Eton’

    Anyone else waiting for a potential Gillian Duffy moment from Cameron?

  • “The problem with capitalism is that it’s not capitalist enough”: Neoliberalism 2.0?

    See below for comments by the Whole Foods CEO John Mackey in this article that are by now rather familiar. This notion can be formulated in many different ways but at root it seeks to redeem ‘free-market capitalism’ by agreeing with leftist critics and disowning the excesses of the last few decades, denouncing them as […]

  • Upper Clapton Dance (cc @Mookron)

    Reading this excellent paper in the Sociological Review reminded me of this video which I’d not seen for ages: The comments on the video would be interesting to analyse in the terms Malcolm James adopts in the paper: Back when Pro Green was a G. Now he’s makin tunes to ensure he gets that energy […]

  • The surprisingly vitriolic misogyny of James Bond

    I recently started reading the Ian Fleming novels for the first time. While I expected some unpleasant sentiments in them, I’ve been surprised by quite how vitriolic Bond’s misogyny is: And then there was this pest of a girl. He sighed. Women were for recreation. On a job, they got in the way and fogged […]