Jean-François Lyotard’s La Condition postmoderne: Rapport sur le savoir as a Critique of Information Capitalism

If anything, Jean-François Lyotard’s examination of the epistemological problems that developed countries face,1 done as a research project for the Canada’s province of Quebec in 1979, which is known in English as The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge,2 might be said to maintain its relevance to the contemporary moment to the present day.

A Blog Article by Pablo Markin.


Done by a philosopher, this study belongs to a more customarily German genre of Zeitdiagnosen, diagnostic descriptions and interpretations of the present moment. It is striking that Lyotard dates the transition to the post-modern condition to the late 1950s, which at first glance can be perceived as a period when modernity has acquired its recognizable, if dated, shape in developed economies. As Lyotard likens the development of information technology to that of transportation and media in terms of its expected effects on the acquisition, classification and exploitation of knowledge, the post-modern condition, thus, in his conception, is an epistemological change that accompanies transformations in social, cultural and economic semiotics that the emergence of information society imposes on corresponding exchanges.

In many respects, Lyotard’s is a perspective on the residual contradictions between tradition and modernity from the point in time in which the latter has become a dominant force. At the same time, Lyotard’s analysis suggests that the notion of modernity can be aligned with that of capitalism, as he discusses the growing domination of the exchange value of information to the detriment of its use value, which restates Karl Marx’s3 contradiction between the use and exchange value as descriptive of capitalist economic relations. However, as post-capitalism is a condition that cannot necessarily be registered, as use and exchange values of tangible and intangible commodities have continued to circulate over recent centuries, albeit with ever growing velocity, the same may be stated about post-modernity as a concept that eludes reality, other than as a subject of philosophical discourse.

In other words, Lyotard has been among the first scholars to conceptualize the post-industrial transformation of capitalism as an interminable transition from traditional capitalism to modern capitalism, as both the definition and foundations of the latter continue to undergo transformations. By the same token, the post-modern condition can be conceived of as a re-interpretation of tradition, the terms of its production and reproduction. Historical debates around postmodernism, such as in the field of art, underline the continued opposition between tradition and modernity that continues to define the terms of reference in which the production of cultural, social and economic values is discussed, as Maxence Alcalde indicates.4 To some extent, Lyotard has also presaged the neo-liberal dynamics that aims at the progressive reduction of the role of the state, while turning transparency into an evaluation principle of social, economic and political processes increasingly modeled after communication and information exchanges, whose value and interpretation depends on their ease of assimilation into circuits of consumption.

Likewise, as states become sites for the production and valorization of knowledge, as well as other commodities, in the global space of financial flows, they have to make themselves attractive for the investment decisions of multinational corporations as autonomous actors, which runs counter to the modern logic of state sovereignty without, nevertheless, superceding it. Recent appraisals of the post-modern condition, such as that of Ileana Rotaru, Lavinia Nitulescu, and Cristian Rudolf,5 however, tend to introduce periodization, as part of its retrospective interpretation.

This reifies postmodernism, as the corresponding concept, in terms its historical theoretical usage, which reduces the heuristic value of the postmodern perspective.


Featured Image Credits:  Marina Bay Sands Singapore HDR travel photo, Singapore, July 25, 2012 | © Courtesy of Jimmy McIntyre.

Cite this article as: Pablo Markin, "Jean-François Lyotard’s La Condition postmoderne: Rapport sur le savoir as a Critique of Information Capitalism," in Open Culture, 12/08/2017, http://oc.hypotheses.org/465.

References

  1. Lyotard, Jean-François. La Condition Postmoderne: Rapport Sur Le Savoir. Paris: Editions de Minuit, [1979] 2009. []
  2. Lyotard, Jean-François. The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge. Trans.  by Geoff Bennington. Minneapolis, Minn: Univ. of Minnesota Press, 2010. Print. []
  3. Marx, Karl. Das Kapital: Kritik Der Politischen Okonomie : Erster Band. Ed. by Friedrich Engels. Hamburg: Verlag von Otto Meissner, 1890. []
  4. Maxence Alcalde, « L’art postmoderne comme idéologie réactionnaire », Marges [Online], 03 | 2004, Online since 15 November 2005, connection on 12 August 2017. URL : http://marges.revues.org/779 ; DOI : 10.4000/marges.779. []
  5. Rotaru, Ileana, Lavinia Nitulescu, and Cristian Rudolf. “The post-modern paradigm–a framework of today’s media impact in cultural space.” Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences 5 (2010): 328-330. []

Casinos as Paradigmatic Sites of Modern Capitalism in Walter Benjamin’s Das Passagen-Werk

In the incomplete oeuvre of Walter Benjamin known as The Arcades Project1 or in the original German Das Passagen-Werk, modern casinos are enumerated in the series of architectural structures coeval with industrial capitalism that comprise railway stations, universal expositions and theatre and industrial buildings.

A Blog Article by Pablo Markin.


In the excerpt from Maurice Talmeyr’s La cité du sang2 that this work features, an intertextual discussion on steel construction as an emblem of the technological age serves as a context for this passage.3 As gambling houses, casinos are, thus, not only sites of risk-taking play and social games surrounded by related activities, such as prostitution in the nineteenth-century Paris, but also locations, where social forces have historically been at play.

As the aristocratic and imperial social order gave way to the bourgeois society in the nineteenth century, casinos have become embedded into related cultural practices, such as opera performance attendance, leisurely newspaper reading, public social ceremonies and tea society circles. As Benjamin in his citations from Joseph Joubert4 and Ludwig Börne5 suggests, overinvestment into dress and appearance is not a mere waste of time, but a transformation of temporal relations that the modern society produces, as social and cultural time becomes achieved in leisure-related, ostentatious activities.6

Likewise, as sites of expensive leisure, casinos can be approached as socially sanctioned means for the destruction of excessive labor time and financial capital. As the quotation of Benjamin from Honoré de Balzac’s La peau de chagrin7 also indicates, casinos as institutions for games of chance can also be seen as sites of capitalist sublime joining the emotional economy of gambling and addiction with fate-defining economic events, especially as losing gamblers are engulfed in a catastrophic vortex of increasing stakes and financial ruination. This, thus, makes casinos into hallucinatory reflections of capitalism and modernity that conjure up spectacular architectural and urban forms through the interplay of social and economic forces that they unleash.

In this regard, gambling is as much as figure of modernity as is flânerie, as Stefano Gulizia suggests, especially as the certainties of traditional societies have become replaced with the vagaries of random macro- and micro-level economic events.8 Whereas in the nineteenth century Fyodor Dostoyevsky9 has been attempting realist depictions of gambling, the twentieth century has seen the rise of game and rational choice theories that explicitly address the place of risk in the choices individuals make.

In this respect, Birgit Wagner also indirectly indicates that in Benjamin’s fragmentary writing, casinos are associated with disorientation, the play of appearances and the contrived, orchestrated representation of passions urban life inspires.10

As the term casino capitalism11 also suggests, casinos can be, therefore, interpreted as the sites of the phantasmagoric spirit of capitalism, as its delirium-inspiring essence.


Featured Image Credits:  Casino Lisboa, Macau Peninsula, Macau, July 20, 2008 | © Courtesy of Mark Huguet.

Cite this article as: Pablo Markin, "Casinos as Paradigmatic Sites of Modern Capitalism in Walter Benjamin’s Das Passagen-Werk," in Open Culture, 30/07/2017, http://oc.hypotheses.org/447.

References

  1. Benjamin, Walter. The Arcades Project. Trans. by Howard Eiland, and Kevin McLaughlin. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2003. []
  2. Talmeyr, Maurice. La Cité du Sang: Tableaux du Siècle Passé. Paris: Perrin, 1901, pp. 276-277. []
  3. Benjamin, Walter, Gesammelte Schriften: Bd. 5. Das Passagen-Werk. Teil 1 and 2. Ed. by Theodor W. Adorno, Gershom Scholem, Hermann Schweppenhäuser, and Rolf Tiedemann. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, 2001, p. 212. []
  4. Joubert, Joseph. Oeuvres: Précédées D’une Notice Sur Sa Vie, Son Caractère Et Ses Travaux Par Paul De Raynal Et Des Jugements Littéraires De Sainte-Beuve, Silvestre De Sacy, Saint Marc De Girardin, Géruzez Et Poitou. Paris, 1883. []
  5. Börne, Ludwig. Gesammelte Schriften. Hamburg: Hoffman & Campe, 1962. []
  6. Benjamin, Walter, ibid., pp. 640-642. []
  7. Balzac, Honoré . La Peau De Chagrin: Balzac Illustré : Etudes Sociales. Paris: Delloye, 1838. []
  8. Gulizia, Stefano, “Walter Benjamin, Gambler”, A Danubian Review of Books, January, 2013, http://www.verbunkos.org/2013/01/walter-benjamin-gambler-preview.html. []
  9. Dostoyevsky, Fyodor. The Gambler. Trans. by Jessie Coulson. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1975. []
  10. Wagner, Birgit. Walter Benjamin de passage In : À la rencontre. : Affinités et coups de foudre [en ligne]. Nanterre : Presses universitaires de Paris Nanterre, 2012 (généré le 29 juillet 2017). Disponible sur Internet : <http://books.openedition.org/pupo/2508>. ISBN : 9782821851054. DOI : 10.4000/books.pupo.2508. []
  11. Strange, Susan. Casino Capitalism. Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1986. []

The Road to Oxiana by Robert Byron

Much has changed in the Middle East since Robert Byron’s 280-page travelogue, The Road to Oxiana, hit bookstore shelves in 1937: the Islamic Revolution overthrew the Shah of Iran, vast swaths of Palestine became Israel, Pakistan broke away from India, Afghanistan went through a Soviet invasion, a multi-stage civil war, Taliban rule and an American invasion. In short, it’s been a busy eighty years. Byron’s insightful book is a thought-provoking odyssey through an almost forgotten time in a land where hope still existed and jihadism calmly slept in its crib.

Traveling from Venice through the British-occupied Cyprus, Byron—along with his on-again off-again companion, author Christopher Sykes—journeys across Palestine, Syria and Iraq before heading into the Shah’s Persia and tribal Afghanistan. All the while, exploring and cataloguing some of the greatest architectural treasures of the region, from the majestic Sheikh Loffollah Mosque, with its almost mystical dome design, to the last remaining vestiges of the Silk Road, Ghazni’s Towers of Victory.

Themes of politics and history are vital to setting the journey in the context of its time. Nazi Germany—along with anti-Nazi expats—come up throughout the trek be it in conversation or subtle insinuation between Byron and the adventurers he encounters, giving a foreboding aura akin to viewing a film noir where a bomb is hidden in the trunk of the hero’s car, you being aware of the coming doom while the characters sit silent, oblivious to that hidden future. Bolshevik expansion into Afghanistan brings with it fleeing Russians who share their experiences with Byron of what it means to live under the iron fist of Stalinism. Local bureaucracy acts as a tertiary character, appearing in the most unexpected points in the journey be it getting letters from local governors to go from one town to another, renting government approved horses or taking photos of a Persian ruin. The odyssey is as dream-like as that Alice in Wonderland.

But don’t think that Byron’s masterpiece is as dry as the deserts and steppes that he traversed. Written in poetic prose, Road to Oxiana’s centers on the simple human details of the way that people interact with each other in the vast landscapes of the pre-air travel era. While wayfaring from mountain-encircled Tehran to the arid Herat, Byron encounters murder, flooding and a blizzard that force him back, stalling his quest by several months. And the characters encountered along his journey are as colorful as the Afghan flower fields in spring: generous peasants, clueless tourists, nosy imams, frightened police officers, obstreperous archeologists and larger than life ambassadors and governors, among whom the fable-reciting Shir Ahmad is bound to find a permeant place in the reader’s memory.

Robert Byron’s The Road to Oxiana, is an experience worth undertaking. Overflowing with historical insight, thought-provoking anecdotes and perception-changing reflections, it’s a book that any reader will ponder for weeks after they’ve put it down. After finishing the book, the reader’s emotions will mimic Byron’s, a feeling of being “dazed at the prospect of coming to a stop, at the impending collision between eleven month’s momentum and the immobility of a beloved home.”1 In short, the book awakes one’s curiosity and a need to quench a deep thirst within each one of us, simply known as, imagination.

By Adam Zmarzlinski.

Associate Editor, Open Cultural Studies


Featured Image Credits: Detail of the Intricate Brickwork on the Mas’ud III Tower,  2014 | © Courtesy of U.S. Department of State / Flickr.

Cite this article as: Adam Zmarzlinski, “The Road to Oxiana by Robert Byron,” in Open Culture, 12/07/2017, https://oc.hypotheses.org/431.


References

  1. Robert Byron. The Road to Oxiana, New York: Oxford University Press, 1982, 286. []

Special Economic Zones as New Forms of Deterritorialized Relations of Economic and Cultural Exchange

The ongoing globalization of economic and cultural relations increasingly takes place via deterritorialized zones as self-governing sites of trans-local exchanges.

A Blog Article by Pablo Markin.


In her seminal article on export processing, special economic and free trade zones, Keller Easterling indicates the emergence of these zones as locations where relations of exchange are determined by the presence of infrastructure, transnational flows and architectural structures, rather than the traditional localizations of state sovereignty.1 In other words, as urban governance practices, architectural development and social forms have become increasingly standardized, cities-in-a-box, as special economic zones can also be conceived of, have become practical reality.

Before the modern period of industrial capitalism and place-bound nation-states, prominent cities have almost always played key roles as intensive nodes in trans-local networks of trade that have maintained a significant degree of autonomy. At the same time, while the fortunes of free cities, such as Hamburg and Hong Kong, have ebbed and flowed in tandem with the shifting dynamics of economic and cultural exchange, the accelerated rise in the number of special economic zones as instruments of free trade and globalization in recent decades cannot be separated from the groundwork that international organizations, such as the United Nations, have laid for the special status that these areas of exchange can claim in relation to local jurisdictions from which they become excised.

Especially in China, special economic zones not so much complement the operation of local jurisdictions as replace these, in the course of their continued proliferation. These dynamics are reinforced by the culture of globalization that can be conceptualized not only as it contents, but also as its infrastructure in the form of digital code, such as Internet protocols, automated algorithms and more recently blockchain-enabled solutions, that subtends the place-independent relations of exchange for which special economic zones offer landing pads.2 This is exemplified by Dubai’s Media, Knowledge, International Humanitarian, and Industrial Cities as zones with dissimilar sets of assets that attract international corporations, non-governmental organizations and other agencies to their urban quarters. Similarly, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Singapore vie with each other for global preeminence in the flows of economic and cultural exchange by setting up multifunctional and constantly growing airport areas comprising transportation infrastructures, entertainment facilities, natural parks and logistics centers.3

Thus, these hotspots of exchange escape traditional categories that have applied to pre-modern and modern economic and governmental relations, as technology, culture and capitalism produce hybrid spatial forms in which forces of globalization territorialize, such as in the form of conferences, congresses and summits, while calling forth counter-forms of cultural deterritorialization, such as art biennials.4


Featured Image Credits:  Quotidian Architectures: Hong Kong in Venice, November 18, 2010 | © Courtesy of Nicholas Ng.

Cite this article as: Pablo Markin, "Special Economic Zones as New Forms of Deterritorialized Relations of Economic and Cultural Exchange," in Open Culture, 08/07/2017, http://oc.hypotheses.org/426.

References

  1. Easterling, Keller. “Zone: The spatial softwares of extrastatecraft.” Places Journal (2012). []
  2. Easterling, Keller. “An Internet of things.” E-flux Journal 31 (2012). []
  3. Hirsh, Max. “Techno-Pastoral Fantasies at Hong Kong International.” Places Journal (2013). []
  4. Dustin Breitling, Václav Janoščík, Vít Bohal. “Reinventing Horizons: An Introduction.” Reinventing Horizons Conference, 2016. []

Thinking Cultural History with Vilém Flusser: Images, Technology and Intellectual Constructs

Recent years have seen an intensive interest in Vilém Flusser’s philosophical work, which could be accounted for by his interdisciplinary position, fragmented writing style and multi-lingual oeuvre composed in German, Czech and Portuguese.1

A Blog Article by Pablo Markin.


Continuing his reflections on the philosophy of photography, in the work entitled Into the Universe of Technical Images Flusser does not separate social structures from the images that are generated in particular periods.2 Based on this premise, cultural history could be submitted to periodization that is in accord with the nature of pictorial forms that are associated with it. In this regard, Flusser’s essayistic style both allows for the recombination of philosophical ideas for a descriptive analysis of the present moment and escapes categorization, especially as the flow of his argumentation is apportioned into short pieces of text. This also positions Flusser at the cross-roads of European intellectual traditions that he has approached from his location in Brazil.

At any rate, his critique of technological images has allowed Flusser to recognize that the utopian expectations associated with the advent of the information society have largely been unfounded, despite the progressive development of the underlying technical possibilities. Decades after the time of his writing, it seems that the interest in his works stems from the perspective they afford on the media-saturated condition that has become everyday reality around the globe. Re-appraisals and re-publications of Flusser’s works indicate that the conceptual vocabulary with which the contemporary culture could be grasp continues to be in flux to a similar degree to which the early foreshadowing of digitization processes could allow a reflexive understanding of the interrelations between society, culture and visual forms in the late twentieth century.

This is the reason for which the article by Riccardo Venturi on Flusser’s thought both registers its trajectory and its reception and historicizes the analyses he proposed, while noticing their stress on insights that rely less on systematic intellectual schemes than on the intensity of insight that the transition from one point to another in the web of his evolving, inchoate argumentation gives access to.3 In other words, Flusser’s works are informed by aesthetics, which is not unrelated to his engagements as an art curator, such as for the 1972 São Paulo Biennial. Likewise, as a form of intellectual montage, Flusser’s thought has been amenable to those working in visual design, design and architecture, since it proceeds from initial ideas toward composite arguments that are not dissimilar to creative processes in the arts, as João Palla argues.4

In other words, as Flusser takes recourse to the narrative reflection more at home in fictional texts, he produces in his works novel forms of intellectual expression that do away with intellectual constructions divorced from the reality of everyday life, works of art and aesthetic perception.


Featured Image Credits:  Neighborhood Sightlines in North Beach, San Francisco, United States, April 11, 2011 | © Courtesy of Digital Archaeology.

Cite this article as: Pablo Markin, "Thinking Cultural History with Vilém Flusser: Images, Technology and Intellectual Constructs," in Open Culture, 02/07/2017, http://oc.hypotheses.org/417.

References

  1. Anonymous, Vilém Flusser, Monoskop, 14 May 2017, https://monoskop.org/Vil%C3%A9m_Flusser []
  2. Flusser, Vilém. Ins Universum Der Technischen Bilder. Göttingen: European Photography, 2000 [1985]. []
  3. Riccardo Venturi, « Les Images techniques et leur médium. Exposer la pensée de Vilém Flusser », Critique d’art [En ligne], 46 | Printemps/Eté 2016, mis en ligne le 20 mai 2017, consulté le 02 juillet 2017. URL : http://critiquedart.revues.org/21166 ; DOI : 10.4000/critiquedart.21166 []
  4. João Palla. Modos De “Ver” O Espaço – A Propósito De Montagens Fotográficas, Artecapital, Arquitetura e Design | Artecapital.Net, n.d., http://www.artecapital.net/arq_des-4-modos-de-ver-o-espaco-a-proposito-de-montagens-fotograficas []

After Existentialism – UK Sartre Society

After Existentialism: UK Sartre Society conference


Tuesday 18th July 2017

Maison Française, Oxford

9.00am – 5.00pm


Keynote Speaker: Prof. Christina Howells (Oxford)


Submitted Papers:

  • The Second Sex: from idealism to materialism and back, Katja Čičigoj (Justus-Liebig-University Giessen)
  • Mindfulness after Existentialism – Through the Mind’s Eye, Ruth Kitchen (EHESS Paris)
  • Seriality and the Crisis of Democracy. Taking Sartre into Democratic Theory, Matthias Lievens (KU Leuven)
  • The Body is a Situation: Beauvoir outside the Sex-Gender Distinction, Emma Jane McNicol (Monash)
  • The Existential Subject and Freedom in Learning: a Dialogue with Sartre, Miranda Matthews (Goldsmiths, University of London)
  • Sartre’s Theory of the Author-Reader Relationship, Marieke Mueller (University of Paris Nanterre)
  • The Critique of Presence: Sartre’s Influence on Derrida, Gavin Rae (Universidad Carlos III de Madrid)
  • Untenable Positions: Existentialism and the Case against the Unconscious Mind, Ian Scrannage (South Gloucestershire and Stroud College)
  • Alain Badiou: A Student of Sartre, Chingshun Sheu (National Taiwan Normal University)
  • Authenticity Beyond Existentialism: A Socio-Existential Approach, Kyle Shuttleworth (Queens University Belfast)
  • Existentialism and Political Failure: Lessons for Today, Michael Sigrist (George Washington University)
  • Sartre’s Conceptions of Agency and Its Value for the Philosophy of History, Sina Talachian (Kings College London)
  • Inauthenticity and Violence: The Case of Antisemitism, Dror Yinon (Bar-Ilan University)

Registration fees:

Standard registration: £40.

UK Sartre Society members and Sartre Studies International subscribers: £30.

Students and unwaged registrants who are not members or subscribers: £30.

Students and unwaged registrants who are members or subscribers: £20.


Registration deadline: Friday 30th June

Online registration: http://uksartresociety2017.bpt.me


Featured Image Credits: Paris, St-Germain-des-Prés, Café de Flore, September 6, 2007 | © Courtesy of Wally Gobetz.

Gilles Deleuze’s Movement-Image as a Theoretical Prism for Historical Analyses of Cinematic Works

Having achieved a status of a classical philosophical work, Gilles Deleuze’s Cinema 1: The Movement-Image, though still cryptic, serves as a backdrop for reconsiderations of contemporary cinema.1

A Blog Article by Pablo Markin.


Deleuze’s notion of the movement-image ostensibly owes a debt to Henri Bergson’s work Matter and Memory in which it was originally proposed in the context of the latter’s psychological critique of cinema. 2

However, in contemporary cultural and critical thought the movement-image is considered a part of Deleuze’s theoretical vocabulary, not least because he used this concept to analyze key works in cinematic history, in order to organize its empirical elements along the diagrams of philosophical reflection that both emerges from their close reading and imposes its own logic on their semiotic interpretation. Not accidentally, Deleuze mentions, however playfully, Charles Saunders Peirce’s works as his sign- and image-reading vademecum, in his effort to propose the history of cinematic classics in the form of their phenomenological classification.

In doing so, Deleuze reduces cinema to its most basic semiotic elements, e.g., a mechanical transition from one momentary shot to another that creates an illusion of movement or non-movement. From this perspective, the cinematic movement is, thus, what emerges between two immobile snapshots as their virtual interrelation. Therefore, the movement-image is a particular type of image, its virtual aspect, that Deleuze contrasts with the time-image on which he expounds in his second work on cinema.3 These two notions describe the two poles of the dialectic between movement occurring within an imagined or experienced period of time and duration that serves as its contrasting background simultaneously enabling the movement to register as such.

For this reason, this work of Deleuze is repeatedly taken recourse to by scholars seeking to wed film history to its philosophical revaluation, such as Emoke Simon’s consideration of Stan Brakhage’s cinematic oeuvre in Deleuze’s poststructural terms and Slavoj Žižek’s texts on films as texts lending themselves to philosophical analysis.4

Likewise, Anne Hurault-Paupe extends Deleuze’s typological disquisitions on the history of world cinema in the direction of genres and works that have attained the status of cultural phenomena in recent decades, such as road movies originating in American cinema and achieving genre-status internationally.5


Featured Image Credits:  Maya Deren, Dance, and Gestural Encounters in Ritual in Transfigured Time, March 7, 2012 | © Courtesy of bswise.

Cite this article as: Pablo Markin, "Gilles Deleuze’s Movement-Image as a Theoretical Prism for Historical Analyses of Cinematic Works," in Open Culture, 20/06/2017, http://oc.hypotheses.org/347.

References

  1. Deleuze, Gilles. Cinema: 1. The movement image. London: Continuum, 2008. []
  2. Bergson, Henri. Matter and Memory. Translated by Nancy M. Paul, and W S. Palmer, 2012. []
  3. Deleuze, Gilles. Cinema: 2The time-image. Translated by Hugh Tomlinson and Robert Galeta. London: Bloomsbury, 2013. []
  4. Simon, Emőke. “(Re) framing Movement in Stan Brakhage’s Visions in Meditation N° 1.” Acta Universitatis Sapientiae, Film and Media Studies 6, no. 1 (2013): 35-48. DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/ausfm-2014-0003. []
  5. Anne Hurault-Paupe, « The paradoxes of cinematic movement: is the road movie a static genre? », Miranda [Online], 10 | 2014, Online since 23 February 2015, connection on 20 June 2017. URL : http://miranda.revues.org/6257 ; DOI : 10.4000/miranda.6257 []

Cultures of Capitalism

Massey University, Wellington Campus

Aotearoa/New Zealand

December 6-8, 2017

 


Keynote Speakers:

Professor Patricia Hill Collins (University of Maryland),

Professor Jodi Dean (Hobart and William Smith Colleges),

Professor Jeremy Gilbert (University of East London),

Professor Wendy Larner (University of Victoria, Wellington).


 

Culture is increasingly positioned in economic and political discourse as the solution for ailing communities, industries, and cities. In a global environment riven by climate change, war, and migrations, we are told that communities with the right culture will adapt and sustain while others will be left behind. Labour and manufacturing have undergone radical shifts due to post-industrialisation, with knowledge economy paradigms creating new cultures of work and working identities. Culture is also increasingly valorised in urban planning and municipal infrastructure as key to revitalising city economies through creativity and social participation. Transformations in labour and its value are also linked to the reification of racialised, sexualized, and classed populations and their management through technologies of capital. How labour is valued contributes to an affective economy of precarity and risk that is differentially distributed throughout society.

 

The 2017 Cultural Studies Association of Australasia conference will focus on the work that cultures do in constructing, contesting, and constituting capitalism. We seek to critically examine the role of culture in both enabling and articulating new capitalist formations. While culture has been situated as the opiate through which economic dominance is propagated (for instance in the culture industries critique), new capitalist formations indicate the multiple and heterogeneous ways in which culture/s can mediate contemporary economic conditions. In doing so, we seek to return to one of the key concerns of early cultural studies: to make sense of the mutually-determining relation between culture and its capitalist context. If, following Stuart Hall, we understand ‘culture’ as the production of meaning through language and representation, what are the modes of communication through which capitalism/s are created? How are capitalism/s materialised in different spaces? How is it embodied in different identities and communities? What is the role of economy in shaping the possibilities for culture? What is the role of Cultural Studies as critical praxis in the present economic time?

Papers are invited to address, but are not limited to, the following themes:

 

.         The cultural politics of neoliberalism

·         Precarious and/or immaterial labour

·         Digital capitalism

·         Capitalist affects

·         Trump, Brexit and the resurgence of capitalist nationalisms

·         Capitalism, culture and technology

·         The cultural and creative industries

·         Capitalism, culture and sustainability

·         Cultures of surveillance and war

·         Cultural identity and globalisation

·         Cultural resistance and activism

·         Productive and unproductive cultures

·         Base, superstructure and mediation

·         Formal and real subsumption of culture

·         Representations of capitalism, class and markets

·         Political economies of online, digital and social media

·        Anticapitalist, Socialist, Anarchist and Communist cultures

·         Racial capitalism

·         Critical theory, Cultural Marxism and Cultural Studies

The conference also accepts papers that fall within the general disciplinary area of Cultural Studies.


If you are interested in presenting at the conference, please send a 250 word abstract with your name, e-mail address and affiliation to csaa2017@massey.ac.nz by August 1 2017. Any other enquires regarding the event should also be addressed to csaa2017@massey.ac.nz.

Organising Committee: Nicholas Holm (Massey University), Sy Taffel (Massey University), Holly Randell-Moon (University of Otago)


http://csaa.asn.au/2017/01/13/cfp-csaa-conference-2017-cultures-capitalism/

Representations of Home: Conflict and/or (Be)longing: Thinking with Stories and Images

16-17 November 2017

School of Arts and Humanities, University of Lisbon, 


People not only think about stories; far more consequentially, people think with stories.

Arthur W. Frank, Letting Stories Breathe: A Socio-Narratology, 2010: 47.

The idea of home was something they lived so completely that they would have been at a loss to define it. But they would have known to be inadequate phrases such as: ‘It’s where you’re from,’ ‘It’s the place you live,’ ‘It’s where your family are.’
Deirdre Madden, One by One in the Darkness, 1996: 75.


Keynote speakers:

Rhian Atkin (Cardiff University, UK)

Simone Lazaroo (Murdoch University, Australia)

Lee Maracle (University of Toronto, Canada)

José Pedro Serra (University of Lisbon, Portugal)


In a world deeply marked by conflicts, persecutions, and scarce and/or poorly distributed resources, where some are driven out of their homes by war and poverty, while others feel that their (national) homes and ways of living are under threat, it is important to reflect about the notions of home that underpin personal and communal behaviour.

This conference focuses on representations of home in literature and the visual arts as the site where dynamics of conflict and/or (be)longing are played out. Home, particularly the imagined home, is a quintessential space of refuge from an external, unknown and potentially threatening, but also enticing, world. In Classical as in religious texts, home is both a place of departure and of quest and arrival, and throughout history the longing for home has persisted in the midst of the recurring challenges of belonging. Conflict has also elicited concerted efforts to find viable frameworks for coexistence, as epitomized by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), in the wake of the Second World
War, or the Paris Agreement on Climate Change (2016), in response to current concerns about our collective home.

If homes are often sites of tension and conflict, to what extent does the imagined home shape, and to what extent is it shaped by, our experience of homes?

We invite contributions that reflect on representations in literature and the visual arts of the experience of home, the longing for home and the challenges of belonging. Topics addressed may include but are not limited to:

• Home as a space of conflict and/or reconciliation;
• The challenges of (non)belonging;
• Home, community and the representation of gender identity;
• Longing for home and utopia;
• Home and exile;
• Home as refuge / seeking refuge from home;
• Home as prison / home at war;
• Home and trauma;
• Home and family;
• Home and nation;
• Home and language;
• Home and cosmopolitanism;
• Glocal homes / identities;
• Home and nature;
• Home and memory;
• Home and spirituality;
• Home and creativity;
• Home, objects and affect;
• Home and myth;
• Home in folktales and fairy tales.

The conference language is English. Speakers should prepare for a 15-minute presentation followed by questions. Please send a 250-word abstract, as well as a brief biographical note (100 words) to rephome@letras.ulisboa.pt by the 15th May 2017.

Proposals should list the paper title, name, institutional affiliation, and contact details.
You will receive notification of abstract acceptance or rejection by the 30th June.

Organising Committee:

Teresa Casal
Ana Cristina Mendes
Ana Raquel Fernandes
Jean Page
Margarida Pereira Martins
Maria Luísa Falcão
Mariana Pires
Marjike Boucherie
Mary Fowke
Paula Horta
Sara Paiva Henriques
Zuzanna Sanches

Scientific Committee:
Teresa Casal
Ana Cristina Mendes
Ana Raquel Fernandes
Isabel Alves
José Pedro Serra
Margarida Pereira Martins
Marjike Boucherie
Maria de Jesus C. Relvas
Paula Horta
Zuzanna Sanches

A Book Review of Mario Perniola. Über das Fühlen. Translated by Sabine Schneider. Berlin: Merve, 2009

A Book Review by Pablo Markin.

This German translation of Mario Perniola’s (2002) Del Sentire brings his philosophical inquiry into feeling as an aesthetic category to the German speaking audience.1 Furthermore, it puts into a single volume writings that have been dispersed across several different English-language volumes, such as Extreme Beauty: Aesthetics, Politics, Death (2003) edited by James Swearingen and Joanne Cutting-Gray that explores interconnections between aesthetics and philosophy.2

Indeed, in this book, Perniola’s aim is to reclaim the notion of feeling from its conventional conceptions for the purposes of aesthetic analysis that does away with subject-oriented categories in favor of feeling as an impersonal experience that by eliding the philosophical distinction between the notions of subject and object recovers by the same token the uncanny aspect of feeling as an experience per se occurring not so much in the inter-subjective space between the sensing subject and the aesthetic intentions of the artist, writer or composer, but in the inter-objective field of sensible intensities that obtain between individuals as sensing objects and the inanimate subjects of their perceptions, while thereby reversing the locus of aesthetic apperception from the theoretically hypothesized subject to the physically felt object.3 This also endows sensual perception with the aesthetic status independent of the Enlightenment categories that have historically governed aesthetic theory.

Perniola arrives at this perspective via an archeology of philosophical, sociological, economic, political and cultural thought, such as crystallized in the notions of Max Weber’s bureaucracy, Karl Marx’s ideology and Giambattista Vico’s sense. This also allows Perniola to perform a diagnostic reading of the present period of the aestheticization of everyday life that combines the bureaucratic management of everyday experiences with a psychology-aided optimization of individual-level reactions, such as through media spectacles, that effectively pre-program feeling.

In this respect, Mario Perniola’s radical disquisition on the phenomenon and notion of feeling represents a post-structural line of flight that seeks to uncover the foundations of aesthetic sensations in machine-like, object-oriented and depersonalized experiences that escape the mechanisms of social and cultural manipulation.

This makes Perniola’s thought relevant to cultural, urban and art studies, as Paula Cristina Moreira da Silva Pereira and Fernando Manuel Brandão Alves’ critique of urbanity demonstrates.4


Featured Image Credits:  Esprit Urbain.I | City Spirit.I – #DH593 Post-traitement | Post-processing, February 8, 2015 | © Courtesy of Didier Hannot Photography.

Cite this article as: Pablo Markin, "A Book Review of Mario Perniola. Über das Fühlen. Translated by Sabine Schneider. Berlin: Merve, 2009," in Open Culture, 10/06/2017, http://oc.hypotheses.org/264.
  1. Perniola, Mario. Del Sentire. Torino: Einaudi, 2002. []
  2. Swearingen, James, and Joanne Cutting-Gray. Extreme Beauty: Aesthetics, Politics, Death. Textures. Continuum International Publishing Group, 2003. []
  3. Perniola, Mario. Über das Fühlen. Translated by Sabine Schneider. Berlin: Merve, 2009. []
  4. Paula Cristina Moreira da Silva Pereira e Fernando Manuel Brandão Alves, « The Eulogy of Urbanity », Cultura [Online], Vol. 28 | 2011, posto online no dia 09 Maio 2013, consultado a 09 Junho 2017. URL : http://cultura.revues.org/277 ; DOI : 10.4000/cultura.277 []

Alain Médam’s Notion of Diaspora between the Articulation in French and English Translations

A Blog Article by Pablo Markin.


In his 1993 French-language essay, Alain Médam has addressed the generalization of the notion of diaspora beyond its historical association with the dispersion of Jews as exiles around the world toward its reinterpretation as a general condition descriptive of multiple groups with shared memory of points of origin, geographical traversations and arrival experiences.1

In this regard, the phenomenon of diasporas as plural, fluid and deterritorialized entities cannot be restricted to the mass movements of populations sharing common identity in the modern period, e.g., the European immigration to the United States, since history is rich with counterexamples, such as international slave trade routes and illegal refugee movements. This demands the examination of diasporicity between the two poles of clear-cut cultural identities and their ever-changing displacements across cultural, geographic and social contexts.

As a later interrogation of the concept of diasporas, Lisa Anteby-Yemini and William Berthomiere both recontextualize the original notion of diaspora with respect to its cultural origin in the Hebrew and Greek languages and traditions, while seeking to inscribe it into a theoretical dispositive of globalization, struggles for inclusion and transnational or cosmopolitan studies, in their 2005 essay in French.2 Its English-language translation both enables broadening the corresponding discussion around the term diaspora beyond the confines of the French language and allows tracing the intellectual sources of this notion, such as in the works of Alain Médam, James Clifford, and Paul Gilroy.3.

Especially in the domain of postcolonial studies, such as in Cristina-Georgiana Voicu’s monograph on cultural identities in Jean Rhys’ fiction, the phenomenon of diaspora becomes a conceptual point of reference for inquiries into bodies of literary works from global margins.4 In her theoretical introduction, Voicu maps the notion of diaspora upon the processes of cultural hybridization, post-colonial identity formation and their theoretical and literary articulation.5

In this respect, French thought, such as that of Médam, plays a significant role in the exploration of the theoretical antinomies of the notion of diaspora in different languages.


Featured Image Credits:  To scatter, to sow, October 23, 2010 | © Ade Oshineye.

Cite this article as: Pablo Markin, "Alain Médam’s Notion of Diaspora between the Articulation in French and English Translations," in Open Culture, 03/06/2017, http://oc.hypotheses.org/243.

References

  1. Médam Alain. Diaspora/Diasporas. Archétype et typologie. In: Revue européenne des migrations internationales, vol. 9, n°1,1993. pp. 59-66. DOI : 10.3406/remi.1993.1049. []
  2. Lisa Anteby-Yemini et William Berthomière, « Les diasporas : retour sur un concept », Bulletin du Centre de recherche français à Jérusalem [En ligne], 16 | 2005, mis en ligne le 17 septembre 2007, Consulté le 03 juin 2017. URL : http://bcrfj.revues.org/57. []
  3. Lisa Anteby-Yemini et William Berthomière, « Diaspora: A Look Back on a Concept », Bulletin du Centre de recherche français à Jérusalem [En ligne], 16 | 2005, mis en ligne le 09 octobre 2007, Consulté le 03 juin 2017. URL : http://bcrfj.revues.org/257. []
  4. Cristina-Georgiana Voicu, Exploring Cultural Identities in Jean Rhys’ Fiction. Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co KG, 2014. []
  5. Cristina-Georgiana Voicu, Identity in the Postcolonial Paradigm: Key Concepts in Voicu, Cristina-Georgiana. Exploring Cultural Identities in Jean Rhys’ Fiction. Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co KG, 2014. []

POLITICAL MASCULINITIES AND POPULISM

Uni Koblenz-LandauGreenwich


 1st to 3rd December, 2017

University of Landau, Germany


Confirmed Keynote Speakers: 

Ov Cristian Norocel

CEREN, University of Helsinki , FInland & Department of Government Uppsala University, Sweden

Tatiana Zhurzhenko
Research Director: “Ukraine in European Dialogue” &  “Russia in Global Dialogue”, IWM, Vienna, Austria

Call for Papers

The conference aims to encourage and develop diverse understanding concerning the relationship between the concepts of political masculinities and populism. In the current political and social climate where media debates are often heated and analysis is in danger of taking second place to (political) opinion, we hope to provide an arena in which to consider the gendered functioning of populist politics and politicians – both past and present – and thereby contribute toward understanding the rise of populism globally in the 21st century.

Populism, which is a modern phenomenon that can be traced back to Russia and the United States of the late 19thcentury, is a contested political concept, in which some even question its analytic utility (Mudde and Rovira Kaltwasser, 2017: 2). Whilst the term is most often linked with the political right, it has also been associated with left-wing politics. Moreover, scholars from different backgrounds use the term to describe different phenomena. For example, there is a tradition of “liberal populism” in the United States, whereas in Europe this expression would be “a blatant contradiction” (Müller 2016: 9). An understanding of populism as “genuine egalitarian left-wing politics” (ibid: 8, original emphasis) is an anathema in much of Europe given liberalism’s alternative association with pluralism.

It is possible, though, to identify some of the concept’s key characteristics. Jan-Werner Müller usefully argues that populists are mostly critical of elites, antipluralist and lay exclusive claim to represent an imagined “people” (4). In short, Müller defines populism as “a particular moralistic imagination of politics, a way of perceiving the political world that sets a morally pure and fully united – but […] ultimately fictional – people against elites who are deemed corrupt or in some other way morally inferior” (19-20, original emphasis).

We define the concept of ‘political masculinities’ broadly. This can relate to any potential actor in the political sphere, including for example, individuals such as activists, insurgents, politicians, political journalists and voters; groups such as political parties, lobbyists, think tanks, trade unions, and other non-governmental organisations (NGOs); and the state, its institutions as well as representatives. We also emphasise ‘hidden’ political masculinities, such as those associated with global businessmen, as well as political processes and structures and their relation to masculinities.

The most overt link between the concepts of populism and political masculinities lies in the figure of the populist leader. This leader is associated with the “charismatic strongman”, ruling on the basis of “a cult of a leader” and is usually portrayed as masculine and potentially violent (Mudde and Rovira Kaltmwasser 2017: 63). Thus, there is an emphasis on action and the courage to take difficult decisions, which relies on anti-intellectualism and urgency and is often completed by highlighting the leader’s virility, the use of simple and vulgar language, and, of course, the leader’s charisma (ibid: 64-68). And yet there are also female populist leaders such as Eva Peron (Argentina), Marine LePen (France), Sarah Palin (Unites States) or Frauke Petri (Germanny). Questions therefore arise as to the masculine qualities of populist leaders and populism. How is it possible that women can also embody a populist “strongman”? In addition, there are many studies claiming that particularly the populist right draws its electorate from men (e.g. Harteveld et al. 2015). But, we have just witnessed a large proportion of women voting for the 45thPresident of the United States, and there are also studies claiming that the gender gap in voting for right-wing populists is often overemphasised (Spierings & Zaslove 2015). How do we begin reconciling such seeming contradictions?This conference aims to explore some of the following questions:

  • To what extent are the concepts of populism and masculinities co-constructed and mutually reinforcing?
  • Does masculine populism also exist outside party and/or national politics?
  • Does populist charisma differ in its masculinity from other forms of charisma?
  • What role do masculine identities play for supporters of populism?
  • Is populism more masculine in some (national/historical) contexts than others?
  • How is populist masculinity/masculine populism performed?
  • Where does populist masculinity originate historically?
  • In what way do different national populisms produce similar or diverging forms of political masculinities?
  • What (political) masculinities are excluded by populism and how is this achieved
  • In how far is populist governance masculine?

This list is not exhaustive. We aim to stimulate debate within and between disciplines and welcome the submission of empirical and theoretical papers from across the full spectrum of gender studies. This may include, but is not limited to, work in the arts, humanities, social sciences and sciences.


https://www.uni-koblenz-landau.de/de/landau/fb6/philologien/anglistik/Page/Research/PolMascCon/Polmasc%202017/

Open Access Funding Guide


There are numerous research funders and institutions worldwide that  provide authors with the financial support to cover Open Access publishing charges (APCs and BPCs). For an overview of the available funding per country, please see the list below. The information on Open Access funding possibilities is updated regularly. If you would like to help us the list below more complete and up-to-date, please contact our Open Access Funding Manager Magda Dolińska-Rydzek: Magda.DolinskaRydzek@degruyteropen.com

 

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Australia
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University of Queensland
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Austria
Funding Insititutions:
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Universities:
Institute for Science and Technology
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Technische Universitat Wien
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Belgium
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Universities:
University of Leuven

Canada
Funding institutions:
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Universities:
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Cyprus
Universities:
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Universities:
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Universities:
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National Research Council (CSIC)
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USA
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Nato Fuori Posto: Exploring Placelessness in Dean Serravalle’s “The Buried Tree”

Gianluca Agostinelli


Published online: 2017-04-05 | DOI: https://doi.org/ 10.1515/culture-2017-0002


Abstract

Building on the seminal scholarship of humanistic geographer, Edward Relph, this paper explores the postmodern notion of placelessness in Canadian-Italian literature. The author argues that placelessness can afford bi-cultural writers, and their literary protagonists, a degree of productive peripherality that works to deconstruct and undercut the authoritative dynamic of a culturally dominant place. Working with the concept of placelessness, the author analyzes, critically, “The Buried Tree,” a short story composed by Canadian-Italian author, Dean Serravalle, to suggest that the metaphysical state is not one of precarity and dearth but, rather, one of purposeful resistance to the traditional, often oppressive notions of cultural hybridity. While Serravalle’s text focalizes the strong senses of home and cultural rooting as fundamental markers of ethnic identity, placelessness, a space associated primarily with exclusion, can offer refuge and escape for the protagonost, Michele, who seeks both ethnic dissociation from the familial traditions into which he is born, and detachment from his innate, immigrant history. By exploring Michele’s identity crisis, Serravalle seems to challenge the traditional narrative of lifelong, oppositional pluridimensionality, and posits placelessness as a productive, and perhaps necessary, personal state to establish, rather than to reclaim, one’s cultural roots.

Keywords: Italian-Canadian; placelessness; cultural roots


Featured Image Credits: Brigitta Schneiter, June 24, 2017| © Courtesy of Unsplash

Cultural Experiences and Successful Adjustment—A Case Study of Two Foreign Educators in Taiwan

Curtis S. Chu


Published online: 2017-04-24 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/culture-2017-0008


Abstract

Due to globalisation, Asian countries have been pressed to improve their English skills to maintain international competitiveness. Though foreign educators heeded the call to meet the high demand of English learning in Taiwan, their turn-over rate remained persistently high. Assuming cultural differences might be a crucial cause, this study inquired into the cultural experience and adjustment of two foreign educators in Taiwan from a narrative inquiry approach. In addition to an extensive review of local literature, the narratives of the participants revealed the following: (1) strong motives and low/ inaccurate expectations might benefit cultural adjustment; (2) self-initiated relocation could imply more challenges than organizationally assigned relocation; (3) support and social network seem beneficial to cultural transition; (4) cultural differences were found in food, living environment, transportation/traffic, and social interactions; (5) required cultural adjustments include perseverance, trial and error, learning local language, acceptance, and contentment. Such findings not only shed light on Taiwanese culture but also bear implications for successful adjustments through the lens of foreign educators.


Keywords: cultural experience; cultural adjustment; foreign educator; narrative inquiry; Taiwan


Featured Image Credits:  Thomas Tucker, Taipei City, Taiwan  | © Courtesy of Unsplash