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  • Mark 6:40 am on May 24, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , free associatiom, representation, ,   

    Zizek on the impossibility of anarchism  

    My commitment to anarchism is something which ended with sociology, more specifically when I realised that I understood anarchism to entail the overcoming of social structure. Seeing that as a conceptual impossibility, I came to see anarchism as untenable. But I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently, not least of all because it’s become clear to me that it was my conception of anarchism that was untenable. 

    There’s an interesting section in Zizek’s Trouble In Paradise in which he discusses the ‘triple impossibility’ of a social order constituted through nothing more than free association. He doesn’t use the term anarchism, but I think he is effectively talking about the aforementioned conception of it. From pg 126:

    The idea of organizing society in its entirety as a network of associations is a utopia which obfuscates a triple impossibility: 39 –there are numerous cases in which representing (speaking for) others is a necessity; it is cynical to say that victims of mass violence from Auschwitz to Rwanda (and the mentally ill, children, etc., not to mention the suffering animals) should organize themselves and speak for themselves; –when we effectively get a mass mobilization of hundreds of thousands of people self-organizing themselves horizontally (Tahrir Square, Gezi Park …), we should never forget that they remain a minority, and that the silent majority remains outside, non-represented (This is how, in Egypt, this silent majority defeated the Tahrir Square crowd and elected the Muslim Brotherhood); –permanent political engagement has a limited time-span: after a couple of weeks or, rarely, months, the majority disengages, and the problem is to safeguard the results of the uprising at this moment, when things return to normal.

  • Mark 9:35 am on July 30, 2015 Permalink
    Tags: , , freelance, , , representation, ,   

    when people falsely impute research to you 

    This is just weird. I can only assume that the EastLovesWest company hires underpaid freelancers to produce content for their blog, who have in turn typed keywords into Google and written an article without ever clicking on any of the links:

    Screen Shot 2015-07-30 at 10.28.44

    It seems likely to me that this will become a more common occurrence with time. It happens in a less pronounced way in journalism, as stressed journos increasingly look to newly identifiable academics to provide quotes in advance of impending deadlines. My sense is that on such occasions, there’s very little substance to the engagement, there’s just a hole in an article which the journalist hopes an academic will fill. But the growth of content factories and vast ranks of freelance writers, with little to no commitment to professional standards, risks that academics who engage online will have what they say drawn upon in a manner up to and including complete fabrication.

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